Jered Weaver makes first-half history with Sandy Koufax

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Jered Weaver put the finishing touches on his brilliant first half with eight shutout innings against the Orioles yesterday, improving to 10-1 with an MLB-leading 1.96 ERA in 15 starts.

Last year Weaver entered the All-Star break with an 11-4 record and 1.86 ERA, which puts him in some exclusive company for first-half dominance.

Dating back to 1950 the only pitchers with 10 or more wins and a sub-2.00 ERA at the All-Star break in back-to-back seasons are Weaver in 2011-2012 and Sandy Koufax in 1963-1964.

And as Baxter Holmes of the Los Angeles Times notes, if AL manager Ron Washington chooses Weaver to start the All-Star game he’ll be the first pitcher to do so in back-to-back seasons since Randy Johnson in 2000-2001.

Not bad for a guy who missed nearly a month with back problems earlier this season.

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.