Chris Carpenter hasn’t ruled out pitching this season

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Chris Carpenter underwent season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome in July and at the time the big question was whether he’d be ready to contribute to the Cardinals next season.

Now it turns out the surgery may not have been “season-ending” after all, because Carpenter has been throwing bullpen sessions recently in attempt to gauge his readiness for 2013 and … well, he’s felt so good that returning this year is suddenly not impossible.

Carpenter threw a 40-pitch bullpen session yesterday, at which point Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch asked if he’d be able to pitch this season and the former Cy Young winner replied: “I don’t know. Let’s see what happens.”

Hummel then told Mike Matheny about Carpenter’s response, to which the manager said: “That’s a heckuva answer. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. It was fun to watch today.”

It’s worth noting that the Cardinals aren’t exactly hurting for rotation depth and in fact just demoted Lance Lynn to the bullpen less than two months after he made the All-Star team as a starter. The odds are obviously stacked against Carpenter making any kind of major impact down the stretch, but then again he’s already made a mockery of the odds with this rapid comeback.

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.