Bad timing: Tommy Hunter suffers strained right groin

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Mere hours after announcing that young flame-thrower Neftali Feliz will remain in his familiar ninth inning role to open the 2011 season, the Rangers got a dose of unfortunate news concerning one of the members of their starting rotation.

According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, right-hander Tommy Hunter was lifted from his Cactus League outing Thursday against the Reds due to a strained muscle in the right side of his groin.

Hunter told reporters after the game that he is still aiming to be available for the start of the regular season, but that seems way doubtful given the normal recovery time for a groin strain. It’s almost certain, in fact, that he’s going to be placed on the disabled list before Opening Day.

The Rangers probably won’t want to use Feliz as a spot starter in the early going even though he’s stretched out and wholly capable, so they’ll likely look to a guy like Scott Feldman or maybe even Dave Bush to do the filling in while Hunter recovers. It should only be three or four weeks.

Hunter, 24, finished with a healthy 13-4 record and 3.73 ERA over 128 innings last season for Texas.

Enrique Hernandez apologizes for saying Dodgers fans had no energy last night

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The Los Angeles Dodgers has a pretty flat Game 3 in the NLCS, striking out 14 times and losing 4-0 to fall into a 1-2 hole in the best-of-seven series.

After the game, Enrique Hernandez called out the fans at Dodger Stadium, saying Game 3 didn’t “feel like a playoff game” because of a lack of energy. A lack of energy from both the teams and the fans:

“We had no energy. The stadium had no energy. The fans had no energy. Overall, it was a pretty bad game for everybody who calls themselves Dodgers.”

Hernandez, a fan favorite and a bright guy, is likely aware that there’s no winning when a player calls out his own fan base, so after he had a night to sleep on it, he decided to clarify and apologize for his comments.

First a joke:

Then a more thorough statement:

As these things tend to go, if the Dodgers win tonight, all will be forgotten. If they don’t, well, it’ll likely still be mostly forgotten because Dodgers fans aren’t likely to be anywhere near as upset with Hernandez as they are with the team as a whole.

Still, the sentiments will likely be appreciated.