Rangers' bankruptcy hearing postponed, but that may not be a big deal

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The next act in the Rangers’ bankruptcy drama was set for July 9th, but Daniel Kaplan of Sports Business Journal just reported that the hearing set for that date has been postponed until July 22nd.  The most important date for baseball purposes, however, is July 31st, which is the trade deadline. Does this delay put the Rangers’ emergence from bankruptcy and closing the sale by then — and thus any deadline trades — in peril?

Not necessarily. That’s because Kaplan’s tweet also reveals that the mediation between the parties is now scheduled for July 16th.  Indeed, I’d guess that it was the scheduling of that mediation — as opposed to any trouble among the parties — that lead to the hearing postponement. A hearing without a mediation first makes no sense, after all.  At the same time, a hearing after a productive mediation could prove to be something close to a formality.

Upshot: the 16th is the key date. If the parties can come to an agreement that they all think the judge will sign off on, Major League Baseball may very well give the Rangers the authority to make the kinds of moves they feel they need to make before the deadline, knowing that new ownership will come on board shortly to, you know, pay for them. If it’s an ugly mediation and things turn sour, things will be different, but that was the case whether it took place on the 5th, the 9th, the 16th or the 12th of never.

My guess: this is no big deal. 

Brandon Morrow injured his back taking off his pants

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The Cubs’ bullpen got into trouble in the ninth inning on Tuesday afternoon during the first game of a doubleheader. Justin Wilson started the inning with the Cubs leading 3-2, normally a situation for closer Brandon Morrow. Wilson issued a leadoff walk to Austin Barnes, then gave up a single to Justin Turner. Morrow wasn’t warming up, curiously. Wilson ended up giving up a go-ahead two-run double to pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer and the Cubs went on to lose 4-3.

We now know why Morrow wasn’t available. He says his back tightened up taking off his pants early Monday morning, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports. Morrow said, “It’s frustrating any time you can’t get out there, especially when you can’t go for something as stupid as taking your pants off.”

Morrow, 33, has been terrific in the closer’s role this season for the Cubs. He owns a 1.59 ERA with a 25/9 K/BB ratio in 22 2/3 innings. He is also not available for the back end of Tuesday’s doubleheader, but it sounds like he won’t need to go on the disabled list.