Cardinals call up Mark Hamilton to help replace Albert Pujols

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It remains to be seen how manager Tony La Russa will actually choose to replace Albert Pujols in the lineup, but he’ll at least have the option of using Mark Hamilton after the Cardinals called the 26-year-old first baseman up from Triple-A today.

Hamilton has struggled previously in a couple brief stints with the Cardinals, but was hitting .385 with more walks (23) than strikeouts (14) in 27 games at Triple-A after batting .298 with 18 homers and a .974 OPS in 72 games there last season.

He’s old for a prospect and doesn’t project as a star, but Hamilton is a solid left-handed bat with some power and plate discipline. He can’t replace Pujols, but if La Russa uses Hamilton as a platoon starter versus primarily right-handed pitchers he can be productive for the next six weeks.

Dodgers designate Sergio Romo for assignment

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The Dodgers announced on Thursday that the club activated pitcher Grant Dayton from the 10-day disabled list and designated pitcher Sergio Romo for assignment.

Dayton, 29, went on the disabled list earlier this month with neck stiffness. He’ll resume with a 3.63 ERA and a 20/12 K/BB ratio in 22 1/3 innings.

Romo, 34, signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Dodgers in February. It didn’t really work out, as the right-hander posted a 6.12 ERA with a 31/12 K/BB ratio in 25 innings. His peripherals are still decent, so it wouldn’t be surprising if a team in need of a bullpen arm makes a deal with the Dodgers within the week.

Nate Karns underwent season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that Royals pitcher Nate Karns underwent surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome on Wednesday. He’s expected to be ready for spring training next year. Karns went on the disabled list in May with an elbow injury and didn’t make much progress.

The Royals acquired Karns from the Mariners in January in exchange for outfielder Jarrod Dyson. Over eight starts and one relief appearance, the 29-year-old right-hander compiled a 4.17 ERA and a 51/13 K/BB ratio in 45 1/3 innings.

Karns will enter his first of three years of arbitration eligibility after the season, so he’ll be under the Royals’ control through 2020.