As expected, Dominic Brown will undergo surgery tomorrow on the broken hamate bone in his right hand and will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks.
Hamate injuries can be tough to recover from, particularly for power hitters, as it often takes a while before their full strength returns.
It’s an unfortunate setback for one of the game’s best hitting prospects, as Brown was deserving of a chance to claim the starting job in right field after hitting .327 with 20 homers, 17 steals, and a .980 OPS in 93 games between Double-A and Triple-A prior to being called up mostly to sit on the Phillies’ bench down the stretch.
In the short term, however, Ben Francisco is capable of doing a decent job as the primary right fielder. He’s off to a good start this spring and has hit .263 with a .775 OPS in 1,221 career plate appearances, which is very close to average production from a corner outfielder. He may be hard-pressed to match those career totals if he’s no longer being spotted mostly versus left-handed pitching, but expecting much more than that type of production from Brown as a 23-year-old rookie would be wishful thinking anyway.
The Rangers will not sign free agent reliever Seung-hwan Oh after all. Reports from MLB.com’s TR Sullivan indicate that negotiations were brought to a halt after a physical issue was found with the pitcher. While the specifics have yet to be released, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News says the issue was revealed on an MRI of the right-hander’s arm.
Oh was thought to be in talks with the Rangers last week, though a deal was never officially announced by the club. The 35-year-old righty is fresh off of a two-year run with the Cardinals, during which he posted a cumulative 39 saves, 2.85 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.2 SO/9 in 139 innings. He struggled with consistency in his sophomore season, however, and finished 2017 with a disappointing 4.10 ERA and 4.44 FIP in 62 appearances for the team.
While Oh hasn’t experienced any setbacks with his arm in the majors so far, he does have a history of prior injuries during his time in KBO. He sustained a shoulder injury in 2009 and underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow in 2010. It’s possible that the Rangers saw an entirely different problem on the MRI, but clearly it was enough to give them strong reservations about inking the righty to a $2.75+ million deal. It’s still possible that another of Oh’s suitors will offer him a contract prior to Opening Day; the Giants were rumored to be interested in the veteran reliever, among other teams, though their recent acquisition of lefty reliever Tony Watson will likely take them out of the running now.