Hanley Ramirez goes 2-for-4, triples in Dodgers debut

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Batting fifth and playing third base, Hanley Ramirez tripled in his first at-bat with the Dodgers and later added an RBI single, but it wasn’t enough as the club lost to the Cardinals 3-2 in 12 innings.

Ramirez is expected to move back to shortstop for the Dodgers, but since he hadn’t played there at all this season, manager Don Mattingly made the call to leave him at third base tonight.

Ramirez had an odd play defensively anyway, as Yadier Molina’s grounder went off his glove with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Fortunately, the ball deflected right to shortstop Luis Cruz, who was able to make the throw to first in time to retire Molina and send a 2-2 game to extra innings.

Ramirez walked to lead off the 12th in his final plate appearance. However, he never made it past first, as James Loney and Cruz struck out behind him and A.J. Ellis flied out to end the inning.

The Cardinals won when ex-Dodger Rafael Furcal singled in pinch-runner Joe Kelly in the bottom of the 12th. The injured Lance Berkman started that rally with a walk and was immediately removed. With two outs, Matt Carpenter hit a single to center that should have put runners on the corners, except Kelly slipped on second base as he made the turn and had to stay put. He scored anyway on Furcal’s hit, which was mishandled by Tony Gwynn Jr. in left.

Dallas Keuchel is unlikely to return before the All-Star break

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Astros’ left-hander Dallas Keuchel might not return to the rotation before the All-Star break, Houston manager A.J. Hinch told reporters prior to Sunday’s game. The club placed their star southpaw on the 10-day disabled list on June 8, retroactive to June 5, after a nerve issue was revealed in his neck.

Keuchel has taken a conservative approach to his recovery over the last several weeks, and while he appears to have made some progress, still has yet to throw off the mound. The injury interrupted the start of an outstanding run with the Astros, during which the 29-year-old lefty furnished a 9-0 record with a 1.67 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 through his first 75 2/3 innings of 2017.

According to Hinch, it’s certainly possible that Keuchel could return to the team sometime within the next two weeks, but it’s clear that the team would prefer to play it extra safe with their ace. Even assuming that he feels ready to reclaim his spot on the Astros’ pitching staff, he still needs to complete a few key activities before competing in another game — like throwing off a mound, for example. In the meantime, Lance McCullers Jr. will continue to head Houston’s rotation as they try to build on their 12.5-game lead in the AL West.

 

Hinch’s full comments are below:

The Mets are promoting Tim Tebow to Single-A St. Lucie

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Mets GM Sandy Alderson told the media on Sunday that the organization is promoting outfielder Tim Tebow from Single-A Columbia to advanced Single-A St. Lucie, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports.

Tebow, 29, wasn’t hitting particularly well to merit the promotion. Across 241 plate appearances with Columbia, he hit .222/.311/.340 with three home runs and 22 RBI. He had just seven extra-base hits (all doubles) in his most recent 20 games. Alderson, however, defended the decision by citing Tebow’s exit velocity and other metrics.

I think we can all agree that the real reason is that promoting Tebow creates another opportunity for the Mets to sell merchandise with his name on it.

One has to feel for the outfielder Tebow will displace. St. Lucie’s regular outfielders have comparable stats to Tebow’s, so they aren’t exactly being replaced on merit. That outfielder will see less playing time, hurting his future prospects. Adding Tebow to St. Lucie’s roster will push someone off of the roster, which will also harm that player’s future prospects. And, remember, these players don’t make much money to begin with.