ESPN running down the All-Star Game again

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ESPN is just fine with a three-hour Home Run Derby.  After all, it gets to televise the proceedings.  But the All-Star Game itself?  Well, that’s FOX’s baby and that makes it fair game for the worldwide leader.

Jerry Crasnick’s piece on all of the stars skipping the game is currently leading the big features box on ESPN.com, with Crasnick spewing lines like the following: “big names bailing by the hour for Bahamas vacations, family cookouts or orthopedic consultations.”  This comes two days after Buster Olney proposed the solution that players should decide in spring training whether to opt off the All-Star ballot.

It’s a shame, because Crasnick is better than this.  There were three healthy players across both leagues who had the chance to go to the All-Star Game and pulled out: Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Aramis Ramirez.  Rivera missed time last week with a strained triceps, and while he was back pitching over the weekend, it’s hard to blame him for wanting to save his bullets.  Ramirez would have been a last-minute injury replacement, but he had already made plans for the break and decided to follow through on them.

So, really, as usual, this all boils down to Jeter.

And doesn’t Jeter deserve a free pass just this once?  This is the first time in 12 All-Star selections that he’s skipped the game.  Between all of the postseason appearances, the All-Star appearances and off-the-field obligations, Jeter has had less time off between the months of February and October than any player in baseball these last 15 years.  Let him have his little break.

Anyway…

Midsummer Mirage? All-Stars deserted this year’s Classic in droves? All-Star Game feeling snubbed?  All-Star Game getting the cold shoulder?  Players backing out of Midsummer Classic threatens showcase event for baseball?

It’s all just propaganda because ESPN would rather you watch it than FOX tonight.

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.