Mark Cuban isn't just playing: he's a serious bidder for the Rangers

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There was a big, acrimonious hearing in Fort Worth yesterday regarding the timing and procedures of the auction to sell the Rangers. Something fun happened during the hearing: some lawyer showed up and as if he were Scott Boras or someone said that he represented an “undisclosed bidder.”  That bidder has turned out to be Mark Cuban.

We’ve recently talked about his interest in the team, but given how Cuban is with the media, there was some reason to suspect that he was just thinking out loud and wasn’t all that serious.  That’s apparently not the case if he’s hiring lawyers to make appearances in bankruptcy court in an effort to impact when and how the auction of the Rangers will be held.

Lawyers for Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan did what what they could to discount Cuban’s interest, dismissively saying he’s been “discussed for weeks,” and they’re clearly trying to spread the word in the media that Major League Baseball may not approve of him, but they have to be nervous.

Nervous if Cuban makes overtures to them about joining their group because if he does — and if they realize that, crap, they need him — the camel’s nose is under the tent and he’s going to be an active part of the ownership group whether they like it or not.  Nervous because if he gets involved — and if he decides to go it on his own or with another bidder — his cash reserves will certainly out-strip anything they can muster.

The proceedings in bankruptcy court have gotten so convoluted that even I and my fancy-schmancy law degree aren’t able to really follow them anymore, but Mark Cuban represents a form of chaos, and chaos is the last thing Greenberg and Ryan need more of.

Sonny Gray was denied insurance coverage for the World Baseball Classic

MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 22:  Pitcher Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics poses for a portrait during photo day at HoHoKam Stadium on February 22, 2017 in Mesa, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports that Athletics’ right-hander Sonny Gray will not pitch in the World Baseball Classic after failing to meet the necessary criteria for insurance coverage. He missed 70 days on the disabled list with forearm tightness and a back strain in 2016.

According to Oakland GM David Forst, Major League Baseball tried to persuade the insurance carrier to waive the requirements for Gray to pitch for Team USA, but the request was ultimately refused. Without coverage, Gray will be unable to participate in the competition, though Forst adds that the 27-year-old is still in perfect health as Opening Day approaches and should benefit from a slower spring training schedule without the added commitment on his plate.

Injuries complicated a down year for Gray, who pitched to a career-worst 5.69 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.2 SO/9 rate through 117 innings in 2016. His 1.4 HR/9 and 17.8% HR/FB rates suggested that he felt the effects of the home run spike more than most, capping a disappointing follow-up to his All-Star campaign during 2015.

While Gray works up to a healthy and productive start to the 2017 season, the Athletics will still see two players on WBC rosters next month: right-handed reliever Santiago Casilla, who is scheduled to pitch for the Dominican Republic, and fellow righty John Axford, for Team Canada.

Report: Josh Hamilton likely to undergo another knee surgery

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 24:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers in the dugout before a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 24, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
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Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton is scheduled for another knee exam on Monday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Hamilton left camp last week after feeling some pain in his left knee and received a PRP injection to alleviate the symptoms. Wilson notes that both Dr. Walt Lowe and Rangers’ assistant general manager Mike Daly noticed little improvement in the days following the injection.

More drastic measures could be necessary if the 35-year-old intends to return to the field this year. MLB.com’s TR Sullivan adds that the Rangers are considering arthroscopic surgery for Hamilton, which would set him back at least 4-6 weeks and eliminate any real chance of his making the Opening Day roster in April. Until they see the results of the surgery, however, the Rangers won’t rule out Hamilton’s potential return to the big leagues in 2017.

Hamilton is looking at his third major procedure since the end of the 2015 season. He missed all of the Rangers’ 2016 campaign after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last spring and has not seen a full workload in the majors since his 2013 run with the Angels. Should he make a full recovery this season, he figures to see some time at first base/DH or the corner outfield.