Joey Gathright gets 50-game ban for amphetamines

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It’s bad enough that MLB’s home run records have been tainted by performance-enhancing drugs. Now we have no choice but to wonder exactly what Joey Gathright was on when he was jumping over cars way back when.

MLB announced today that Gathright was suspended for 50 games for amphetamine usage. Yeah, the guy who stole as many as 69 bases in a minor league season was busted for speed.

The 31-year-old Gathright was last seen playing for the independent Bridgeport Bluefish. He also played in 40 games for the Reds’ Triple-A Louisville affiliate earlier this year, hitting .299/.346/.347 in 147 at-bats. His suspension will take effect if he ever signs with an affiliated club in the future.

Gathright was viewed as a very good prospect back in the day. He had no power at all, but he hit .334 and .331 in his first full minor league seasons and then came in at .305/.388/.407 in his first stint in Triple-A as a 24-year-old in 2005. It never translated to the majors, though. In 1,175 major league at-bats, he hit .263/.328/.303 with one homer and 81 steals.

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.