Our friends over at Pro Football Talk have a whole bunch of good stuff about Colin Kaepernick’s impressive first NFL start for the 49ers last night, but there’s also an interesting little baseball connection.
Back in 2009 when Kaepernick was in college at Nevada the Cubs drafted him in the 43rd round as a pitcher despite his not having played baseball since high school.
As a high school senior in California he threw two no-hitters and had a whole bunch of baseball scholarship offers, but Carrie Muskat of MLB.com has some quotes that made it clear Kaepernick never seriously considered going pro with the Cubs:
Not if football was going to work for me. Out of high school, if I got a football scholarship, that’s what I was going to do. That was part of my scholarship deal with Nevada. I told them, “If I sign here, I won’t enter the Major League Draft.” So, I declined it out of high school and actually got drafted three years later when I hadn’t picked up a baseball in three years.
Kaepernick was a stud quarterback at Nevada and now looks likely to be the 49ers’ long-term starter, whether that begins next week or next season.
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.
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.