<span class="vcard">Aaron Gleeman</span>

Dustin Pedroia Getty

Dustin Pedroia: “It’s been a long time since I’ve been myself”

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Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia played through a wrist injury for most of the season before finally shutting things down and undergoing surgery in mid-September, finishing with career-lows in batting average (.278), on-base percentage (.337), and slugging percentage (.376).

During a radio interview Pedroia told WEEI in Boston that he’s “100 percent” recovered from the surgery to repair a tendon in his left wrist, adding:

Now that it’s fixed, it’s night and day. I can already tell that. There’s a lot of IOU’s to hand out to people, so I’m pretty excited about it. I feel great. I’m back to a hundred percent. I’m doing all my lifts and everything. My rehab’s going good. I’m full strength and I’m pretty excited. It’s been a long time since I’ve been myself. It’s going to be a lot of fun next year.

Pedroia has been banged up a lot in recent years and because of it the former MVP’s performance has varied wildly, with lots of unproductive stretches. He topped an .800 OPS each season from 2007 to 2011, but during the past four seasons his OPS has fallen from .861 to .797 to .787 to .712.

Pedroia, now 31 years old, has seven seasons and $97 million remaining on his contract.

Livan Hernandez wants to go steady with the Nationals

Livan Hernandez
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Rubber-armed Livan Hernandez showing up occasionally at Nationals Park to throw batting practice and hang out with the Nationals was a fun story, but now the 39-year-old would like to be there full time.

Hernandez, who’s currently employed as an “ambassador” by the Nationals, told Bill Ladson of MLB.com that he wants a bigger role:

I want to do something different and maybe stay there the whole year. I want to help the team the whole year. Let’s see. I think I can help next year a lot. All the players want me there. I want to be with them. We’ll wait until next year and see what happens.

There’s probably no room on Matt Williams’ coaching staff for Hernandez, at least for now, but plenty of ex-players fill special assistant or roving instructor roles for teams.

Make it happen, Mike Rizzo.

Angels acquire Cesar Ramos from Rays for Mark Sappington

Ramos_Cesar
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Shortly after trading catcher Hank Conger to the Astros the Angels have made another move, acquiring left-hander Cesar Ramos from the Rays in exchange for right-hander Mark Sappington.

Ramos has been part of Tampa Bay’s bullpen for the past four seasons, posting a 3.66 ERA and 179/96 K/BB ratio in 223 innings. At age 30 and with a raise coming via arbitration he didn’t have a ton of value, but he’ll likely work middle relief for the Angels.

Sappington struggled to throw strikes as a starter, but fared well after shifting to the bullpen around midseason and has some upside as a late-inning reliever. He posted a 3.38 ERA and 49/10 K/BB ratio in 32 innings as a reliever at Triple-A, which was enough for the 23-year-old to get the Rays’ attention.

Troy Patton suspended 80 games for amphetamines

Troy Patton
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Free agent reliever Troy Patton, who spent this season with the Orioles and Padres, has been suspended 80 games by MLB following a positive amphetamine test.

That length of suspension means this is the third such positive test for Patton, because the first test is a warning and the second test is a 25-game suspension which he served at the beginning of the year.

He had a nice three-year run in the Orioles’ bullpen from 2011-2013, throwing 142 innings with a 3.05 ERA and 113/33 K/BB ratio, but Patton struggled this season and was traded to the Padres in May for Nick Hundley. San Diego dropped him from the 40-man roster in September.

His previous positive test was for Adderall, which many players use thanks to exemptions granted by MLB. Orioles slugger Chris Davis was suspended after failing to renew his exemption.

Astros acquire catcher Hank Conger from Angels

Hank Conger
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Once upon a time Hank Conger was viewed as the Angels’ long-term answer behind the plate, but the 2006 first-round draft pick never emerged as more than a backup for manager Mike Scioscia and now they’ve traded him to the Astros.

Chris Iannetta’s presence as a full-time catcher allows the Angels to painlessly part ways with Conger and in return they get catcher Carlos Perez and right-hander Nick Tropeano.

Tropeano made his MLB debut in September, starting four games for the Astros after tossing 125 innings with a 3.03 ERA and 120/33 K/BB ratio at Triple-A as a 23-year-old. He has the potential be a middle-of-the-rotation starter, but may wind up in the bullpen.

Perez is 24 years old and has spent the past two seasons at Triple-A, hitting .264 with eight homers and a .692 OPS. He looks like a backup at most.

And that’s really all Conger looks to be at this point, despite some good numbers in the minors. He’ll turn 27 years old in January and has played 251 games in the majors, hitting just .224 with a .648 OPS. He has some power and can draw a walk, which along with good pitch-framing numbers is no doubt why the Astros felt like taking a flier on him.