Mets prospect Sean Ratliff broke six bones and suffered a partially detached retina when a foul ball struck him in the right eye while he stood in the on-deck circle during a game this spring and Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports that the 2008 fourth-round pick will miss the entire season.
Ratliff has undergone two surgeries already and told Rubin that doctors “sounded pretty hopeful … that everything would be back to normal, or good-enough eyesight, to where I can hopefully keep playing.”
Braves minor-league manager Luis Salazar lost his left eye when he was struck by a foul ball just a few weeks earlier and Ratliff talked about how fortunate he feels to avoid the same fate:
I’m very blessed that it didn’t happen that way. That was the first thing that went through my mind. I wasn’t knocked out or anything. I was on the ground. I was like, “You’ve got to be kidding me, this is going to happen to me too?”
You don’t wish something like what happened to Luis Salazar happening to anybody. I was scared for a little while there that I wasn’t going to be able to see, or I wasn’t going to play again. I’m still not completely out of the woods yet with returning, or being able to play. But God has blessed me with hopefully a second chance here.
Ratliff struggled somewhat in his first two-and-a-half pro seasons after being picked out of Stanford, but the 24-year-old outfielder hit .317 with 16 homers and a .933 OPS in 73 games at Double-A following a midseason promotion last year.
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.
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.