Jason Hammel leaves start with tight left hamstring

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Cubs right-hander Jason Hammel threw only 12 pitches in a flawless top of the first inning Wednesday night against the rival Cardinals, but Clayton Richard was spotted warming up in the bottom half of the first and took the mound in the top of the second. Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com has the reason

Hammel’s next scheduled start isn’t until after the All-Star break, so he shouldn’t miss a rotation turn. But the Cubs need all the wins they can get against the division-leading Cardinals and Hammel obviously gave them a much better chance Wednesday than Richard, who allowed two runs in his first frame. Hammel boasts a 2.86 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 105/18 K/BB ratio in 103 2/3 total innings this season for third-place Chicago.

Video: Jorge Soler launches first home run of spring training

Jorge Soler
Associated Press
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The Royals and Rangers played the first game of spring training today. A few other teams (the Red Sox, Tigers and Twins) played or are currently playing college squads, but Kansas City-Texas is our first matchup of big league teams. Baseball’s back, baby! And you know what baseball means?

Kansas City’s Jorge Soler, who hit 48 homers last year to lead the American League, offered us the year’s first glimpse at recreational baseball murder when he took Kolby Allard out over the left field yard.

Mmm. That’s the good stuff. Here’s to eight and a half months more of that. Bring me the dingers.

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