Joey Votto works out with the Reds, isn’t ready to return yet

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Joey Votto is three weeks into his recovery for a strained quadriceps muscle and was able to field ground balls at first base and take batting practice with the rest of the Reds today.

However, manager Bryan Price indicated to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that there’s no timetable yet for Votto’s return from the disabled list and there are still hurdles to get past before a minor-league rehab assignment can be considered:

He looked strong, but he hasn’t had a huge workload offensively. It’s not like he’s been able to take regular swings off live pitching for a while. … That’s why it seemed to make more sense to bring him to the ballpark and work out with the club for a few days and be able to do baseball activity before deciding the next move.

For his part Votto declined to speak to reporters about his status and, in general, everyone involved has been oddly vague about his recovery process for a while now. In the meantime Price and the Reds continue to give backup catcher Brayan Pena and his .658 career OPS regular starts at first base.

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.