Nelson Cruz out three weeks with Grade 1 hamstring strain

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UPDATE: Cruz will be placed on the disabled list and is expected to miss three weeks after being diagnosed with a Grade 1 hamstring strain, which won’t do anything to squash the Rangers’ rumored interest in Lance Berkman.

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Nelson Cruz exited yesterday’s game after straining his left hamstring running out a double, which is especially worrisome for the Rangers given that he spent three different stints on the disabled list with hamstring problems last season.

It looked serious as Cruz limped off the field and he’s scheduled for an MRI exam today, but the outfielder told Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas that he’s hopeful the injury will prove minor and he can avoid the DL:

Last year, it would still feel pretty bad even with the treatment. That’s not how it felt tonight. It felt more normal. Hopefully, it’s not bad and I’m back soon.

With rosters expanding Thursday anyway there’s less need to place Cruz on the DL, but Durrett speculates that it might cause the Rangers to pursue another outfielder via the waiver wire. Cruz has been much healthier this season and has already played more games than he did all of last year, but his OPS has dropped nearly 100 points and he’s been much less active on the bases.

Braves sign David Hernandez

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Bill Whitehead of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the Braves have signed reliever David Hernandez to a minor league contract on Sunday. He’ll report to spring training as a non-roster invitee.

Hernandez, who turns 32 years old in May, signed a minor league contract with the Giants in February. He requested and was granted his release on Friday when he learned he wasn’t making the team’s 25-man roster to open the season.

Hernandez pitched for the Phillies last year. He compiled a 3.84 ERA with an 80/32 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.

Dave Roberts: It “doesn’t make sense” for Scott Kazmir to start year in Dodgers’ rotation

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Scott Kazmir won’t begin the regular season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Manager Dave Roberts said after Kazmir’s Cactus League outing on Sunday that it “doesn’t make sense” for the ailing Kazmir to break camp in the rotation, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The lefty will instead rehab some more and join the rotation at a later time.

Kazmir has been battling a hip issue which has caused his mechanics to suffer. He was clocked in the low 80’s 10 days ago and wasn’t much better on Sunday afternoon.

Last season with the Dodgers, Kazmir posted a 4.56 ERA with a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings, his worst numbers since returning to the majors in 2013.