Indians center fielder Michael Bourn will begin the season on the disabled list with a hamstring injury suffered on March 16, the team announced.
Bourn was a big disappointment in the first season of his four-year, $48 million deal, hitting just .263 with a .676 OPS and career-low 23 steals, and then in October he underwent surgery on the same hamstring that’s still bothering him now. He struggled this spring before being shut down, so the injury is a major worry for a 31-year-old whose value is almost entirely dependent on his speed.
Nyjer Morgan has won a spot on the Opening Day roster after coming to camp on a minor-league deal, so he’ll help fill in until Bourn is ready. Morgan played poorly for the Brewers in 2012, spent last season putting up mediocre numbers in Japan, and didn’t exactly impress this spring, but the Indians don’t have a ton of other options. Michael Brantley also has center field experience, so the Indians could shift him over from left field to avoid playing Morgan regularly. That would create more at-bats for Ryan Raburn and Mike Aviles.
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.