How does Josh Hamilton recover from this?

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I feel terrible for the man who died in the stands at Rangers Ballpark on Thursday night and even worse for his young son.  But it’s impossible not to have equal sympathy for Josh Hamilton.

The foul ball that Hamilton threw into the stands is going to haunt the man for the rest of his life.  How will he be able to sleep tonight or any other night in the near future knowing that if he just threw the ball a little farther, some boy’s father would still be alive?

The answer is that he probably won’t.  And for this to happen to Hamilton of all ballplayers seems particularly sadistic.  Hamilton, the 2010 AL MVP, nearly lost his career to drugs before it even got started, and he only put his life back together by putting himself into the Lord’s hands.

And Hamilton still has his demons.  When it looked like he might slip back into drinking a couple of years ago, he swore off alcohol.  The Rangers, maybe sensing his fragility, celebrated with ginger ale after winning the ALDS and the ALCS in 2010.

One can only hope that Hamilton is able to put the incident behind him in the coming months, and that he has the strength to withstand those substances that may offer temporary relief but leave him far worse off for the long run.  Baseball certainly seems like a secondary concern at the moment, but the diamond is Hamilton’s safe haven and he’ll have the good fortune to be surrounded by teammates day in and day out.

The pain doesn’t figure to go away anytime soon.  But here’s hoping it only makes him stronger.

Johnny Cueto expected to opt-out of his deal after the season

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Johnny Cueto signed a six-year $130 million deal with the Giants prior to the 2016 season. In his first season he went 18-5 with a 2.79 ERA and 198 strikeouts in 219.2 innings, helping lead the Giants to the playoffs. This season has been rocky for Cueto — he’s got a a 4.42 ERA in 15 starts and has battled blisters — but they’ve been far rockier for the Giants overall, as they sit in last place in the NL West and have the second worst record in baseball.

Many suspect that the Giants will either rebuild or, at the very least, restructure some in response to this nightmare year. If so, they’re likely going to be doing it with Cueto, who Jon Heyman reports is going to opt-out of his deal:

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto is planning to opt out of his contract at the end of the year, but he would listen to any extension offer . . . Cueto has $84 million to go over four years. It would probably take an injury or major slump for Cueto not to opt out. But it makes sense that he will.

Heyman says the Giants are not inclined to give him an extension, so expect to see Cueto on the free agent market three days after the World Series ends, which is the deadline for him to exercise his opt-out rights.

The Dodgers are concerned about Julio Urias’ shoulder

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Things are going great for the Dodgers lately. They’ve won seven consecutive games and 13 of their last 14. They lead the National League in wins and are in first place in, arguably, the best division in baseball.

But there are a lot of moving parts on a baseball team, and even when some things are going great, other things can go not-so-great. Like this:

Urias has been diagnosed with shoulder inflammation and shut down indefinitely. An MRI last week showed no structural damage, but his shoulder is still bothering him. He has not pitched in the bigs since late May, when he allowed seven runs in less than three innings against the Miami Marlins. He was sent down after that and went 3-0 with a 3.12 ERA, six walks and 17 strikeouts in 17.1 innings pitched in three starts with Oklahoma City before being shelved.