Mark Mulder retires

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Mark Mulder pitch.jpgThis may register as the least surprising news of the day, but Mark Mulder — former member of the “Big Three” in Oakland — has announced that he has officially retired.

I think the only person this may be news to is Mulder’s agent who, back in February, when reports of Mulder’s retirement first surfaced, said that Mulder was going to pitch again. But even at the time Mulder and his friends were basically admitting that he was done.  If he threw one pitch in anger between then and today I’d be shocked.

The Big Three of Mulder, Zito and Hudson were overlooked in general — some people think that those A’s teams won all of those games only because Billy Beane took all those walk (er, or something) — but Mulder may have been the most overlooked of the Big Three.

Hudson was
considered the ace and Zito got his gigantic contract, but Mulder was no slouch. He won 21 games in 2001, 19 in 2002 and pitched well in the playoffs. Sadly,
his shoulder went pop a year after joining the Cardinals. After a good
2005 season, 2006 was cut short, 2007 and 2008 were near total losses
for him. He didn’t pitch at all last year.

You can look at Mark Mulder and ask what could have been, but you can also look at what was and say that it wasn’t too damn bad. 

Have a nice retirement, Mark.

Alex Dickerson to miss 2017 season after undergoing back surgery

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Padres’ outfielder Alex Dickerson won’t see PETCO Park anytime soon — at least, not as its starting left fielder. The 27-year-old was diagnosed with a bulging disc in his lower back prior to the start of the 2017 season, and hasn’t made any kind of substantial progress in the months since. According to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune, he suffered a setback in his recovery process last week and is set to undergo a season-ending discectomy next Wednesday.

Over 285 plate appearances, Dickerson batted .257/.333/.455 with 10 home runs and a .788 OPS for the Padres in 2016. He missed several days with a right hip contusion last July, but hasn’t experienced any substantial health problems since undergoing surgery in 2014 to repair a torn ligament in his left ankle.

The expected recovery period for lower back surgery is 3-4 months, according to Lin, which puts Dickerson’s estimated return just a few days before the end of the regular season. The Padres aren’t scraping the bottom of the NL West, but their 29-44 record doesn’t bode well for a postseason run this year. Assuming Dickerson rehabs his back in a timely manner, he should be in fine form to enter the competition for left field next spring.

Video: Hanley Ramirez’s No. 250 career home run barely left the field

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Hanley Ramirez played a pivotal role during the Red Sox’ 9-4 win over the Angels on Friday night, crushing a two-run homer off of Alex Meyer to bring the Sox up to a four-run lead in the fourth inning.

Well, crushed might be the wrong word. The ball cleared the right field fence with a mere 350 feet, landing just beyond Pesky’s Pole to bring Ramirez’s career home run total to an even 250.

According to the ESPN Home Run Tracker, Ramirez’s milestone blast wasn’t the shortest home run of the year — not by a long shot. That distinction currently belongs to Rays’ outfielder Corey Dickerson, who skimmed the left field fence at Rogers Centre with a 326-foot homer back in April.