Justin Upton

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 2, Marlins 0: Justin Upton went 4 for 4 including another homer. At this point it’s getting so ridiculous that I feel like any more grit/lazy jokes are just gratuitous and cruel to Diamondbacks fans who may soon begin wondering why, again, it was so necessary to trade a stud slugger, still only 25, and signed to a team-friendly contract. In other news, announced attendance for the Marlins’ home opener was 34,439. Many were disguised as empty seats. Many other were there because Marlins tickets are going for roughly the price of a Zimbabwean dollar in late 2009.

Rangers 5, Rays 4: The last strike of the game from Joe Nathan should have been ball four to Ben Zobrist, which would have put the tying run on second with Evan Longoria up at the plate. But it … wasn’t. Even if we do get replay and robot umps and everything else sometime soon, I’m guessing balls and strikes won’t be part of that for decades if ever, so there’s no sense screaming for robot umps. But boy howdy, Marty Foster made a lousy call on that one.

Reds 13, Cardinals 4: Tied in the ninth and then the Reds blitz the redbirds for nine runs. Gonna go out on a limb and say that Mitchell Boggs didn’t exactly solidify his role with this outing. Some of The Best Fans in Baseball didn’t much care for it either.

Brewers 7, Cubs 4: The wind was blowing out at about a gajillion miles per hour, but only one homer was hit all game and that came from the losing team. Beyond that Wellington Castillo shot, Marco Estrada kept the ball down and pitched seven effective innings. Edwin Jackson surrendered a four-spot in the first and after that it wasn’t too entertaining.  Norichika Aoki had four hits — dude is on fire right now — and Ryan Braun returned to the lineup and went 3 for 4 with two doubles.

Royals 3, Twins 1: Ervin Santana pitched eight strong, striking out seven, walking only one and scattering singles. Kevin Correia pitched seven great innings but, unfortunately, was sent out for the eighth.

Yankees 11, Indians 6: Travis Hafner made a triumphant return to Cleveland and Robinson Cano launched two homers, doubled walked and scored four runs. Nice way to shake off a season-opening slump.

Red Sox 3, Orioles 1: Clay Buchholz gives the Sox another great start and Daniel Nava builds his legend. And while the storylines have been nice, it’s been the pitching and defense getting it done.

Mets 7, Phillies 2: There’s no escaping it: the Phillies are in full-blown Roy Halladay crisis mode now, as he was roughed up again (4 IP, 6 H, 7 ER).  Matt Harvey, meanwhile, was dominant once again (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 9K). You gotta wonder if the Phils are gonna consider shutting Doc down.

Giants 4, Rockies 2: The Giants’ seventh straight win against the Rockies, helped by a Hunter Pence three-run bomb. This was the Giants first home game without some sort of pregame awards ceremony or celebration. ‘Spose we can get on with 2013 now?

Pirates 5, Diamondbacks 3: Pittsburgh ends its losing streak at five. Two RBI each for Andrew McCutchen and Travis Snider. The Cubs, Pirates and Brewers are all deadlocked at 2-5 in the race for the NL Central cellar. Exciting!

Mariners 3, Astros 0: It’s almost like all of those spring training home runs the Astros hit weren’t indicative of the team’s overall quality. Joe Saunders and three relievers combined for a seven-hit shutout.

Sonny Gray was denied insurance coverage for the World Baseball Classic

MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 22:  Pitcher Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics poses for a portrait during photo day at HoHoKam Stadium on February 22, 2017 in Mesa, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports that Athletics’ right-hander Sonny Gray will not pitch in the World Baseball Classic after failing to meet the necessary criteria for insurance coverage. He missed 70 days on the disabled list with forearm tightness and a back strain in 2016.

According to Oakland GM David Forst, Major League Baseball tried to persuade the insurance carrier to waive the requirements for Gray to pitch for Team USA, but the request was ultimately refused. Without coverage, Gray will be unable to participate in the competition, though Forst adds that the 27-year-old is still in perfect health as Opening Day approaches and should benefit from a slower spring training schedule without the added commitment on his plate.

Injuries complicated a down year for Gray, who pitched to a career-worst 5.69 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.2 SO/9 rate through 117 innings in 2016. His 1.4 HR/9 and 17.8% HR/FB rates suggested that he felt the effects of the home run spike more than most, capping a disappointing follow-up to his All-Star campaign during 2015.

While Gray works up to a healthy and productive start to the 2017 season, the Athletics will still see two players on WBC rosters next month: right-handed reliever Santiago Casilla, who is scheduled to pitch for the Dominican Republic, and fellow righty John Axford, for Team Canada.

Report: Josh Hamilton likely to undergo another knee surgery

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 24:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers in the dugout before a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 24, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
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Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton is scheduled for another knee exam on Monday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Hamilton left camp last week after feeling some pain in his left knee and received a PRP injection to alleviate the symptoms. Wilson notes that both Dr. Walt Lowe and Rangers’ assistant general manager Mike Daly noticed little improvement in the days following the injection.

More drastic measures could be necessary if the 35-year-old intends to return to the field this year. MLB.com’s TR Sullivan adds that the Rangers are considering arthroscopic surgery for Hamilton, which would set him back at least 4-6 weeks and eliminate any real chance of his making the Opening Day roster in April. Until they see the results of the surgery, however, the Rangers won’t rule out Hamilton’s potential return to the big leagues in 2017.

Hamilton is looking at his third major procedure since the end of the 2015 season. He missed all of the Rangers’ 2016 campaign after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last spring and has not seen a full workload in the majors since his 2013 run with the Angels. Should he make a full recovery this season, he figures to see some time at first base/DH or the corner outfield.