All-Star balloting underway on MLB.com

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Major League Baseball unveiled the 2011 All-Star ballot on Tuesday for the July 12 game in Phoenix.

And, fear not, Sam Fuld did make the cut, as the league chose to list Johnny Damon at DH and Ben Zobrist at second base for the Rays.

So, head over and cast your vote. Or, better yet, unless you happen to be reading this from a ballpark, wait a couple of months since the season is still just four weeks old at the moment.

In the meantime, here’s my ballot, just for the fun of it.

American League
C Joe Mauer
1B Miguel Cabrera
2B Robinson Cano
3B Alex Rodriguez
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
OF Jose Bautista
OF Josh Hamilton
OF Carl Crawford (Or Shin-Soo Choo or Ichiro)
DH Adam Dunn

National League
C Buster Posey
1B Albert Pujols (Joey Votto can DH)
2B Rickie Weeks
3B Chipper Jones (One last start for a future HOF)
SS Troy Tulowitzki
OF Ryan Braun
OF Matt Holliday
OF Matt Kemp

Obviously, there are a couple of slow starters there, but that’s OK. One thing I don’t like: while I agree with the idea that the DH should be used in every All-Star Game, I’d rather it didn’t get a spot on the ballot. Adrian Gonzalez, Evan Longoria and Mark Teixeira are all likely to more deserving of that start than Dunn or David Ortiz. It puts the AL at a disadvantage that the NL can just slide Votto or Prince Fielder in there.

One other note: for the second year in a row, Detroit’s Brennan Boesch may very well be the most deserving player not on the ballot (though Jed Lowrie is right there, too). Last year, he wasn’t called up until April 23, so there was no helping that. This year, though, he was bypassed despite a .348 average in 69 at-bats. He ranks 11th in the AL in OPS.

Alex Dickerson to miss 2017 season after undergoing back surgery

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Padres’ outfielder Alex Dickerson won’t see PETCO Park anytime soon — at least, not as its starting left fielder. The 27-year-old was diagnosed with a bulging disc in his lower back prior to the start of the 2017 season, and hasn’t made any kind of substantial progress in the months since. According to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune, he suffered a setback in his recovery process last week and is set to undergo a season-ending discectomy next Wednesday.

Over 285 plate appearances, Dickerson batted .257/.333/.455 with 10 home runs and a .788 OPS for the Padres in 2016. He missed several days with a right hip contusion last July, but hasn’t experienced any substantial health problems since undergoing surgery in 2014 to repair a torn ligament in his left ankle.

The expected recovery period for lower back surgery is 3-4 months, according to Lin, which puts Dickerson’s estimated return just a few days before the end of the regular season. The Padres aren’t scraping the bottom of the NL West, but their 29-44 record doesn’t bode well for a postseason run this year. Assuming Dickerson rehabs his back in a timely manner, he should be in fine form to enter the competition for left field next spring.

Video: Hanley Ramirez’s No. 250 career home run barely left the field

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Hanley Ramirez played a pivotal role during the Red Sox’ 9-4 win over the Angels on Friday night, crushing a two-run homer off of Alex Meyer to bring the Sox up to a four-run lead in the fourth inning.

Well, crushed might be the wrong word. The ball cleared the right field fence with a mere 350 feet, landing just beyond Pesky’s Pole to bring Ramirez’s career home run total to an even 250.

According to the ESPN Home Run Tracker, Ramirez’s milestone blast wasn’t the shortest home run of the year — not by a long shot. That distinction currently belongs to Rays’ outfielder Corey Dickerson, who skimmed the left field fence at Rogers Centre with a 326-foot homer back in April.