Vinny Castilla is getting at least one Hall of Fame vote

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Dave Krieger of the Denver Post has a fine Hall of Fame ballot for the most part:  Jeff Bagwell, Larry Walker, Barry Larkin​, Jack Morris​, Tim Raines​ and Alan Trammell​.  I wouldn’t vote for Morris, of course, but I’d gladly take his induction if it meant Raines, Trammell and Bagwell got in, so it’s all good.

Well, not all. See, he’s also voting for a certain former Colorado Rockies third baseman:

Vinny Castilla and Eric Young Sr. make their ballot debuts this year. Considering that neither Dante Bichette norAndres Galarraga got the requisite 5 percent of the vote to return to the ballot a second time, the same fate seems likely to await Vinny and E.Y. this year …  I’m voting for Castilla because I don’t believe he deserves to be knocked off the ballot after one year, as Bichette and Galarraga were.

Hoo boy.  It’s hard to blame Krieger here, however, because the real culprit in this is the stupid “you must get 5% of the vote or else you fall off the ballot rule.”

That rule causes two problems. The first problem: silly votes like this one, in which a voter is admitting to voting for a player he admits is unworthy of the Hall of Fame for what amount to political purposes.  I really hate this. In terms of integrity of the ballot, it’s not all that different than those dudes who send in blank ones because they hate steroids or whatever.  Really, guys, you all have columns. Write your protests there. Leave the actual ballot alone.

The second problem: candidates who totally deserve much greater consideration falling off because, for whatever reason, that consideration was not given when they first appeared on the ballot. Lou Whitaker is the poster boy for this. He’s not just worthy of more consideration, he’s worthy of induction. But for whatever reason, no one really thought of him that way the first year he was eligible and now he’s done.

Someone needs to explain to me the purpose of the 5% rule. What good, if any, it serves that the fact of a player falling off completely after 15 years doesn’t serve.  Because for now all it’s doing is boning guys like Lou Whitaker and caused guys like Vinny Castilla to get Hall of Fame votes. And that drives me nuts.

Shelby Miller will undergo Tommy John surgery

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Last we heard from Shelby Miller, the Diamondbacks’ right-hander was contemplating Tommy John surgery for a partial UCL tear in his right elbow. Now, he appears to have decided to go through with the procedure.

Miller decided to skip Tommy John alternatives like plasma-rich platelet injections or stem cell treatment, which have been used to varying degrees of success by other major league pitchers with similar injuries. The surgery will set him back an estimated 12-18 months, FanRag Sports’ Tommy Stokke reports, which puts Miller’s estimated return date somewhere in 2018 if all goes well.

The 26-year-old starter was off to a rocky start this season, posting a 2-2 record and 4.09 ERA through 22 innings and striking out just 20 of 99 batters faced. This was his sophomore campaign in Arizona after muddling through the 2016 season with a 3-12 record, 6.15 ERA and 0.5 fWAR over 101 innings with the club.

Steven Souza Jr. exits game after injuring his hand on a hit by pitch

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Rays’ right fielder Steven Souza Jr. left Saturday’s game after getting hit on the left hand by a pitch from Blue Jays’ right-hander Joe Biagini in the seventh inning. The pitch appeared to hit the top of Souza Jr.’s hand, causing the outfielder to crumple at the plate and requiring assistance from assistant athletic trainer Paul Harker as he exited the field. Postgame reports from the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin revealed that Souza Jr. sustained a left hand contusion and is scheduled to undergo further evaluation on Sunday.

While the diagnosis isn’t as bad as it could be, it’s still a tough break for the right fielder, who missed 40 days of the 2015 season after sustaining a fracture in his left hand on another hit by pitch. The team has yet to announce any concrete timetable for Souza Jr.’s return, though manager Kevin Cash indicated that they’ll be taking things day to day for the time being.

Souza Jr. is batting .326/.398/.543 with four home runs and 17 RBI through 104 PA in 2017. He went 1-for-2 with a base hit and a walk prior to his departure during Saturday’s 4-1 loss.