Scenes from Spring Training: It finally feels like baseball

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Maybe you don’t have to be at a ballpark on a 75 degree day in March in order for it to feel like baseball season, but it sure does help.  Because I gotta tell ya, I’m feeling baseball today.

My last actual working duty of the day happened a few minutes ago. I interviewed Torii Hunter for tonight’s NBC SportsTalk show.  You can check it out at 6PM on the NBC Sports Network. I won’t give it all away, but I can give you a tantalizing hint of the bombshells I got Hunter to drop: the Angels “just have to take care of [their] business” and it’s awful nice that key players aren’t injured this year like they were last year.  Just nuts, I realize.

Anyway, when I got done with Hunter I walked around the ballpark for a while before the first pitch.  Stuff I saw:

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Sorry. I just can’t resist the cliche equipment-bag-on-the-field-before-a-game photo. I take it every single time it presents itself.

On the other hand, I probably should resist pics like this:

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That was the second orange Marlins cap I saw in the space of about ten minutes. We all said they were ugly. We underestimated the number of dudes like this in the world.

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Ah, more traditional fans. All waiting for autographs. I walked in front of people like this along the entire first base line. Three times during my journey I was asked to pick up Sharpie markers people dripped on the field. I’m going to invent a little tether device and market it to autograph-seekers. Or else I’m just gonna stop giving the markers back and hoard them.

Meanwhile:

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The White Sox put their hands in the air. And they wave them as if they believe there are no repercussions.  Two White Sox were not stretching, though. Dayan Viciedo was being a nice guy:

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And Adam Dunn was throwing a baseball for some reason. As if that’s going to come up sometime this year or something. Whatevs, Adam.

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Oh, wait. He got the start at first base today. God, I love spring training.

The game started a few minutes ago. John Danks looks awful through one inning so far, and it’s 2-0 Angels.  Who I keep calling the Cardinals because they’re wearing red today and Albert Pujols plays for them.

Bear with me. It’s still spring training for me too.

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.