Lorenzo Cain expected to miss rest of season with hamstring injury

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When the Royals traded Melky Cabrera to the Giants for Jonathan Sanchez over the winter, the objective was to give Lorenzo Cain an opportunity to be the regular center fielder. Things haven’t exactly worked out as planned.

While Sanchez was a major bust before being traded to the Rockies for Jeremy Guthrie, Cain just hasn’t been able to stay on the field this season. After missing three months earlier this year with a torn hip flexor, Cain told Dick Kaegel of MLB.com last night that he will miss the rest of the season due to a right hamstring injury.

Cain suffered the injury when he tried to make a diving catch in the 10th inning of Thursday’s loss to the Twins. While it was originally thought to be a minor injury, it turns out that he suffered a Grade 2 strain. The Royals called up Jason Bourgeois from Triple-A Omaha yesterday and he’s expected to be used in a platoon with David Lough in center field down the stretch.

Cain batted .266/.316/.419 with seven home runs, 31 RBI, 10 stolen bases and a .734 OPS in 244 plate appearances this season while playing solid defense, so he has shown enough to open 2013 as the starting center fielder. Top prospect Wil Myers is knocking on the door for a promotion to the big leagues, but the Royals still have right fielder Jeff Francoeur under contract for $6.75 million next season.

Report: Giants in “serious discussions” with Reds to acquire Billy Hamilton

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Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Giants are engaged in “serious discussions” with the Reds to acquire center fielder Billy Hamilton. Talks are apparently advanced enough that a deal could be completed before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday.

It’s no secret that the Giants would like to make an upgrade in the outfield this offseason, as the club has also been linked to Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. Currently, the Giants’ outfield consists of Denard Span, Hunter Pence, and Jarrett Parker.

Hamilton, 27, owns a meager .248/.298/.334 batting line across parts of five seasons in the majors with the Reds. However, he has plenty of speed, having stolen at least 56 bases in each of the last four seasons. Hamilton is also well-regarded for his defense, which would be a boon at spacious AT&T Park.

Hamilton is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He’s projected to earn $5 million for this coming season. Buchanan notes that the Rangers are also interested in potentially acquiring Hamilton.