Corey Hart running out of time to get healthy as oblique “kills”

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Three weeks ago Corey Hart was expected to miss two weeks with a strained oblique muscle, but he’s yet to rejoin the lineup and yesterday told Adam McCalvy of MLB.com that he’s worried about being ready for Opening Day:

It’s still not coming as fast as I want it to. It won’t go away. I still can’t go full-speed on anything. Hitting off the tee is fine, but I can’t amp it up the way I know I can. I can throw, but as soon as I have to do a quick move or let it go, it kills. I can’t go out there and be a huge liability. I’m basically just waiting for my body to do what it’s supposed to do.

McCalvy writes that Hart “would need to make significant progress” in the next few days to have a realistic chance to be ready for March 31, and based on Hart’s comments above that seems unlikely. Even if he makes a miraculous recovery in the next two weeks he’d be entering the season with very few spring training at-bats. Of course, he hit just .172 last spring and was benched on Opening Day, yet ended up making the All-Star team and setting career-highs in homers and RBIs.

Hart won’t be on the bench much this season after signing a three-year, $26.5 million extension, but the Brewers may have to turn to Chris Dickerson or Mat Gamel in right field for a while.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.