Josh Willingham, Curtis Granderson are bringing the charitable noise

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After a day of dealing with Luke Scott and John Rocker it’s something of a palate-cleanser to talk about this stuff:

  • Alabama native and resident Josh Willingham has been pitching in big-time to help the victims of last week’s tornadoes. His wife is back home on the ground helping out. Meanwhile, he has been collecting donations from teammates to help with recovery. The Athletics have added an additional $10,000 and the MLBPA is going to match up to $15,000 of whatever is raised;
  • Meanwhile, Curtis Granderson has plopped down $50K to help supply bats to New York City public school baseball and softball teams. There is a serious need there, due to the fact that last year City Council banned metal and composite bats for safety purposes. Wood bats break and there isn’t enough money to go around to keep the teams supplied, so Granderson has stepped up.

While we’re singling out Willingham and Granderson here, it should be remembered that there are tons and tons of major leaguers doing this kind of stuff every day. Not all of this kind of work gets publicized like this, but there it is.  It’s helpful to remember that whenever we hear about whatever numbskullery rules the day.

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.