Brandon McCarthy might try a pitching helmet, but doesn’t think they should be mandatory

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An update on Brandon McCarthy, who tells Susan Slusser that, compared to a lot of things, getting his skull fractured by a line drive was not particularly painful.  Viva adrenaline I guess.

He also talks about pitching helmets, which we’ve discussed here before.  He tells Slusser that he’d maybe try one, but that he doesn’t think such a thing should be forced on anyone:

I’m all in favor of innovation … and if in 50 years, every pitcher is wearing some sort of soft-shell helmet that looks different, that will be all right. But I don’t want it to be mandatory.”

Seems sensible given that, unlike say seat belts in cars and even batting helmets for hitters, protecting a pitcher’s head is not something that addresses a large-scale threat. It is undeniably dangerous to get smacked with a comebacker, but it’s not a common thing either.

Like we’ve noted before, however, even if it’s not mandated — and I don’t think it should be —  it’s probably something that will happen eventually just because  of technology improving and certain players just choosing to do it and having the habit just become more and more acceptable.

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.