MRI on Hanley Ramirez’s shoulder confirms: it’s sprained

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The Marlins have avoided a bit of a scare.

According to the club’s official Twitter account, shortstop Hanley Ramirez was diagnosed this evening with a sprained left shoulder after undergoing an MRI back in Miami. No structural damage, and all that good stuff.

Hanley will likely spend the night in south Florida before rejoining his teammates Thursday night at Sun Life Stadium. The Fish are hosting the second-place Cardinals this weekend in a four-game series that could play a rather crucial role in the way the National League Central shakes out. (Florida is eight games out of the Wild Card hunt, and 16 games back of the Phillies in the NL East).

Hanley will look to return at some point during the four-game set against St. Louis, probably on Saturday or Sunday. He might even do what all the cool kids are doing and develop a sudden rivalry with Tony La Russa.

Ramirez is batting .280 with six homers, 10 doubles and 28 RBI over his past 44 games.

Must-Click Link: Sherri Nichols, Sabermetic Pioneer

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If you are old enough and lame enough as I am, you may have lurked around on sabermetic message boards in the 1990s. If you did, you may have heard of Sherri Nichols, who back in the day, was a significant contributor to the advancement of statistical analysis, particularly defensive analysis.

While it’s probably better that not everyone is as old and nerdy as me, the downside of it is that most people haven’t heard of Nichols and know nothing about her contributions. That changes today with Ben Lindbergh’s excellent analysis of Nichols and her work over at The Ringer, which I recommend that you all read.

The short version: Nichols is the one who planted the seed about on-base percentage being valuable in the mind of Baseball Prospectus Founder Gary Huckabay, back in the late 80s. She’s also the one most responsible for the rise of zone-based defensive metrics in the 1990s, such as Defensive Average, which she created and which served as the basis for other such metrics going forward. She also played a critical role in the development of RetroSheet, which collected almost all extant box score and play-by-play information going back to the turn of the 20th century, thereby making so much of the information available at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs possible. A key contribution there: making the information free and available to everyone, rather than closing the underlying data off as proprietary and either charging for access or keeping it in-house like some recent data collectors have chosen to do. Ahem.

A larger takeaway than all of Nichols’ contributions is just how loathe the baseball community was to listen to a woman back then. I mean, yeah, they’re still loathe to listen to women now, as indicated by the small number of women who hold jobs in baseball operations departments, but back then it was even worse, as evidenced by Lindbergh’s stories and Nichols’ anecdotes.

A great read and a great history lesson.