The Braves give GM Frank Wren a contract extenstion

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The Braves announced today that they’ve given General Manager Frank Wren a contract extension. He’s now locked up through the 2013 season.

This is not surprising. Wren has the full confidence of ownership and team President John Schuerholz.  Some fans may agitate about various things such as, I dunno, the fact that the Braves haven’t had a full complement of capable outfielders for several years now and the fact that our big moves at the deadline last season was adding Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth, but Wren has likewise avoided handing out crippling deals and has made some decisive moves when the opportunity arose. The Dan Uggla trade is a good example.   And really, his best work has probably been done on the minor league level where the Braves consistently rank near the top of the list in terms of talent in the pipeline.

It’s easy to be critical of the GM when you watch a team play 150+ games a year, but in the big picture, Wren has avoided big missteps and has generally done a good job.  I don’t mean to damn him with faint praise when I say this, but the fact is that a team could do way worse than to have a do-no-harm, occasionally-do-some-good and always do the little things well GM like Wren.

Video: Bryce Harper crushes a home run to the Chase Field concourse

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Aaron Judge may be the talk of the town right now, but let’s not forget some of Major League Baseball’s more established sluggers. Take the Nationals’ Bryce Harper, for instance, who jumped on a full count during the first inning of Saturday’s game and postmarked the ball to the center field concourse in Chase Field.

Harper’s mammoth hit was the first career home run allowed by Diamondbacks’ rookie Anthony Banda. Banda quickly recovered with an inning-ending strikeout to Ryan Zimmerman, but was booted from his big league debut after Harper, Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon combined for a three-run spread in the sixth.

The first-inning homer also served another purpose: it extended Harper’s hitting streak to 15 games, the longest current streak in MLB this season. He’ll need four more games to tie the 19-game streak Royals’ infielder/outfielder Whit Merrifield established back in June.

The Nationals currently lead the Diamondbacks 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Chi Chi Gonzalez to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Rangers’ right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez is slated for Tommy John surgery, according to a report by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Gonzalez was placed on the 60-day disabled list back in early April with a partial UCL tear and was working towards a throwing program before getting sidelined with more elbow pain. He’s expected to miss the entirety of the 2018 season while recovering from the surgery.

This is the second straight season that has been derailed for Gonzalez due to injury. The 25-year-old starter pitched just 10 1/3 innings in 2016 after recovering from a torn UCL, and was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to finish out the year after compiling an 8.71 ERA, 7.8 BB/9 and 6.1 SO/9 in three starts with the club. He showed more promise in Triple-A with a 4.70 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 5.9 SO/9 through 24 starts and 138 innings.

It’s a tough blow for the Rangers, who have seen Gonzalez healthy in just one major league season to date. General manager Jon Daniels told reporters that a recent MRI showed signs of weakening in the ligament, which disrupted the team’s plans to have the right-hander stick to a six- to eight-week recovery timetable after getting a platelet-rich plasma injection (via Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). The surgery is expected to take place next week and will put Gonzalez’s earliest return date sometime in September 2018.