Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Cubs 5, Pirates 3: Impressive debut for Derrek Lee: two homers. Alas, that was all the offense the Buccos could really muster as Carlos Zambrano scattered seven hits over six innings. By the way, the last player who hit a home run in his Pirates debut was pitcher Matt Morris back in 2007. I was at that game. It was more notable for my surprisingly crabby first impression of PNC Park and some surprisingly shabby treatment of a Negro Leaguer. Good times!

Nationals 5, Braves 3: I’m struggling to think of a baseball player I hate more than Livan Hernandez. Dude has haunted my dreams for 14 years. I fully expect that, decades from now, he’ll be in a motorized reclining hospital bed, unable to feed himself, and then someone will prop his 75-year-old ass up to pitch six innings against the Braves and he’ll still only give up a couple of runs. Oh, and Fredi Gonzalez hit the pitcher eighth … and he bunted into a double play. Two homers for Dan Uggla.

Indians 9, Red Sox 6: I guess it was two-homer Monday, because Asdrubal Cabrera joined Lee and Uggla in the dual home run club (UPDATE: I was so angry at Livan Hernandez that I failed to realize that Rick Ankiel had two homers too). Daniel Bard entered a tie game in the eighth, poured kerosene all over the joint and dropped a lit Winston.

Marlins 7, Mets 3: Dramatics galore. Lucas Duda was poised to be the hero — or at least a co-hero — after tying it up with a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, but then Mike Stanton hit a grand slam of Jason Isringhausen in the top of the tenth.

Diamondbacks 5, Giants 2: Ian Kennedy recovered from a leadoff homer to shut the Giants down and collect his 13th win. Arizona is now a game back of the skidding Giants.

Dodgers 6, Padres 2: A complete game for Clayton Kershaw. Three of the Dodgers six runs scored on sacrifices. Take that, Rob Neyer!

Phillies 4, Rockies 3: Trailing 3-1 heading into the ninth, the Phillies got a two-run homer from Mayberry to tie it and then a solo shot from Shane Victorino in the 10th. Everything bounces Philly’s way. They now have a seven game lead.

Brewers 6, Cardinals 2: Seven wins in a row for Milwaukee, although this is the first in that stretch over a real team (sorry Cubs and Astros). A five-run fifth inning did the trick here. I’m sure Chris Carpenter took that beating with quiet dignity and a placid equanimity befitting his zen-like character.  Or he beat the crap out of stuff in the clubhouse afterward.

Astros 4, Reds 3: Cincy continues to confuse. Sweep the Giants, lose to the AAA-Astros.  Jose Altuve knocked in the game-winning run on a fielder’s choice in the 10th.

Mariners 8, Athletics 4: A five-run second inning for the Mariners. They scored a combined four runs in the series against the Rays over the weekend.

Yankees 3, White Sox 2: CC Sabathia wins his 16th even though he allowed loads of base runners. Just battled, baby.

Evan Gattis undergoes surgery for hernia; recovery is 4-6 weeks

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Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle shares the bad news

One of the Astros’ big bats won’t be taking hacks when the Astros hold their first full workout on Feb. 23.

Astros designated hitter Evan Gattis recently underwent surgery to repair a hernia, the Chronicle has learned, taking away most of his spring training at a minimum. The recovery is four to six weeks but fortunately for Gattis and the Astros, the injury is not considered severe.

Gattis was working hard on his overall conditioning this winter, even telling MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart in late January that he had already dropped 18 pounds. It sounds like the big slugger might have gone a bit overboard with those workouts, and now he is in real danger of missing the first couple weeks of the 2016 regular season.

Gattis batted .246/.285/.463 with 27 home runs and 88 RBI in 153 games last season for the Astros. The 29-year-old is arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career and has a hearing with the Astros scheduled for February 16 to determine his salary for 2016. He requested $3.8 million and was offered $3 million when figures were exchanged a little over three weeks ago.

Suddenly the Astros’ front office might have a new talking point for those arbitrators.

Seung-Hwan Oh finally receives his work visa, will be on time for Cardinals camp

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At last check, new Cardinals reliever Seung-Hwan Oh was still awaiting a work visa from the United States Embassy in South Korea and there was some worry that he might not be able to arrive on time to spring training in Jupiter, Florida.

But that is now officially a non-story.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Oh has recieved his work visa and is expected to report to Cardinals camp next week along with the rest of the club’s pitchers and catchers. Oh might even show up a bit earlier than the Cardinals originally asked him to, per Goold.

Oh saved 357 games in 11 seasons between Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and the Korea Baseball Organization before inking a one-year contract with St. Louis this winter. He also registered a stellar 1.81 ERA and 772 strikeouts across 646 total innings in Asia, earning the nickname “The Final Boss.”

Oh is expected to work in a setup role this year for Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal.

John Lamb had back surgery in December, will likely get off to late start in 2016

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John Lamb was part of the Reds’ return package in last July’s Johnny Cueto trade and he had a strong showing at the Triple-A level in 2015. But the young left-hander posted a 5.80 ERA in a 10-start cup of coffee with Cincinnati late last season — his first 10 appearances as a major leaguer — and now comes word from MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon that Lamb will probably have to get off to a late start in 2016.

Lamb underwent surgery in December to repair a herniated disc in his back — a surgery that went unreported by the Reds until Tuesday afternoon. Reds manager Bryan Price acknowledged on MLB Network that Lamb is behind the team’s other starting pitchers and will likely open the coming season on the disabled list. The hope is that he might be ready by mid-April.

It’s a small but frustrating blow for a rebuilding Reds team that will be looking to establish some foundational pieces in 2016. Once he is recovered, Lamb will be expected to fill the Reds’ fifth rotation spot behind Raisel Iglesias, Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, and Michael Lorenzen.

This is going to be an ugly year for Cincinnati baseball fans.

Yu Darvish will report to spring training on time, hopes to begin mound work in March

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Rangers ace Yu Darvish missed the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last March 17. Most starting pitchers take 13-15 months to fully recover from that procedure, and the Rangers aren’t counting on Darvish until sometime this May.

His rehab so far has gone on without issue.

Darvish offered some very positive updates Tuesday to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram …

Darvish, 29, boasts a 3.27 ERA and 1.196 WHIP in 83 career major league starts. He can also claim a whopping 680 strikeouts in 545 1/3 career major league innings.

Texas has him under contract for $10 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017.