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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.

Report: Phillies want a top-five prospect for Jeremy Hellickson

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 20: Starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson #58 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch in the second inning during a game against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park on July 20, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
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Starter Jeremy Hellickson has become the Phillies’ most enticing trade chip as he’s put together a solid month of July. After shutting out the Marlins on one hit and one walk over six innings on Monday, the right-hander lowered his July ERA to 1.97 and his overall ERA to 3.65. As a result, the Phillies are telling teams they want a top-five prospect to part with Hellickson, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark.

Obviously, a top-five prospect means something different if you’re the Marlins as opposed to the Rangers. And the Phillies’ price point for Hellickson isn’t likely to stay that high, but GM Matt Klentak is setting a lofty starting point so that the return might end up being higher than market value.

ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates that the Phillies could end up holding onto Hellickson and giving him a qualifying offer after the season. He notes that the Phillies have only $25 million tied up for the 2017 season, so they could afford to pay Hellickson in excess of $16 million if he were to accept.

Video: Matt Cain launches a three-run home run

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 26: Matt Cain #18 of the San Francisco Giants hits a three run home run against the Cincinnati Reds during the second inning at AT&T Park on July 26, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Madison Bumgarner isn’t the only Giants pitcher who can rake. Matt Cain crushed a three-run home run during Tuesday’s game against the Giants.

Cain stepped to the plate with runners on the corner and one out against Reds starter Cody Reed in the bottom of the second inning. Reed threw a 1-1 fastball down the middle and Cain hit it about 20 rows back in the left field seats.

It’s Cain’s first homer of the season, his first since 2012, and the seventh of his 12-year career. He still has some work to catch up to Bumgarner, who has two homers this year and 13 in his career.

On the pitching side of things, Cain got the win against the Reds on Tuesday night, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He currently holds an ugly 5.95 ERA.