Jaime Garcia goes four-plus innings in second rehab start

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Jaime Garcia can finally spot the finish line.

The 26-year-old left-hander made his second minor league rehab start on Saturday evening at Double-A Springfield, surrendering just one run on two hits over 4 1/3 impressive innings. He struck out six and did not issue a walk while inducing six groundball outs.

According to Kary Booher of the Springfield News-Leader, Garcia is scheduled to make a third rehab start on Thursday. If that goes smoothly, he could be activated from the disabled list and cleared to rejoin the St. Louis staring rotation five days later.

That will mean pushing Joe Kelly or Lance Lynn into a middle relief gig.

Garcia had an underwhelming 4.48 ERA and 1.46 WHIP in 66 1/3 innings this season before hitting the shelf, but his career ERA is 3.45 and his career WHIP is 1.34. He struck out 156 batters in 32 starts last year.

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.