Blue Jays calling up Vladimir Guerrero “seems like a mere formality”

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When the Blue Jays signed Vladimir Guerrero to a minor-league contract earlier this month general manager Alex Anthopoulos tried to keep expectations low by saying the former MVP was no sure thing to be part of their big-league plans.

Since then Guerrero has been working out at the team’s minor-league complex in Florida and just a couple weeks later Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com writes that the Blue Jays calling him up now “seems like a mere formality after a string of glowing reports.”

It seems difficult to believe after watching Guerrero limp through the past several seasons, but according to Chisholm he’s “moving free and easy” and “it’s just a matter of getting his timing down at the plate before Guerrero is ready for the next step.”

Last season Guerrero hit .290, but it came with minimal power and non-existent plate discipline, leading to a career-worst .733 OPS that’s below average for a designated hitter. And at age 37 further decline is very possible, which is why Anthopoulos was hesitant to play up the signing as a major addition in the first place.

By waiving Adam Lind the Blue Jays potentially cleared a path for Guerrero, but first he’ll have to show some upside on a minor-league rehab assignment that could see him play at several levels.

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.