Rehabbing from hip surgery, Cody Ross on track for spring debut in mid-March

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Cody Ross required season-ending surgery last August after he sustained a fracture and dislocation of his right hip, an injury you don’t often hear about with a baseball player, but he’s getting closer to returning to game action.

According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said today that Ross could make his Cactus League debut around March 13 if all goes well. His recovery has gone smoothly so far, as he ran earlier this month for the first time since surgery and was cleared to take part in most spring training activities.

The Diamondbacks haven’t officially ruled Ross out for the start of the season, but it’s highly unlikely he’ll be ready for the series against the Dodgers in Australia from March 22-23. However, a return at some point in April appears possible.

Ross, 33, batted .278/.331/.413 with eight home runs and 38 RBI in 94 games last season before his hip injury. He’ll likely split playing time with Gerardo Parra in right field once he’s back to full health.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.