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Chi Chi Gonzalez expected to miss six weeks with UCL tear

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Rangers’ right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez will miss the start of the season with a torn UCL in his right elbow, per a report from Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Gonzalez had been experiencing elbow soreness on Friday and was diagnosed with a partial tear shortly thereafter.

The righty could be sidelined through the first half of the season, according to the Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant, and that’s just if he makes a full recovery after receiving a PRP injection. Should worst come to worst, Gonzalez will need to undergo Tommy John surgery, which Grant says will optimistically put his return around the All-Star break in 2018. On the bright side, Gonzalez doesn’t have a history of arm injuries, and a quote from the team physician suggests that there is a good chance that his elbow could be repaired with more conservative measures.

Should Gonzalez make a quick recovery, however, he’ll still need to prove he can improve on the 8.71 ERA and 0.0 fWAR he produced with the Rangers in 2016. Poor mechanics and control issues curtailed his performance on the big league level, keeping him to 10 1/3 innings in between stints at Triple-A Reno. He was expected to compete for a rotation spot this spring, a role that will likely land among right-handers A.J. Griffin, Dillon Gee and Mike Hauschild.

Reds acquire Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers

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The Reds acquired utilityman Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations, J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group reports.

This is the second time that the Dodgers have traded Sweeney. The club sent him to the Phillies along with John Richy in August 2015 for Chase Utley. The Phillies sent him back to the Dodgers this past offseason with Darin Ruf in exchange for Howie Kendrick.

Sweeney, 26, made his major league debut in 2015 with the Phillies, hitting a meager .176/.286/.353 in 98 plate appearances. With Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, he hit .227/.290/.412 in 131 PA. While Sweeney’s bat hasn’t proven to be anything special, he has played second base, third base, shortstop, and all three outfield positions, so his flexibility will make him useful at some point.

Bryce Harper to Little League players: “No participation trophies, first place only”

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Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.

“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”

The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.

Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.