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Texas Rangers pitcher Jonathan Hernandez undergoes ligament reconstruction surgery

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Texas Rangers right-hander Jonathan Hernandez had ligament reconstruction surgery on his right elbow Monday, just less than two weeks after fellow reliever José Leclerc had the same procedure, and their bullpen will also be without hard-throwing Matt Bush until at least July.

Rangers president of baseball operations Jon Daniels said the Tommy John surgery on Hernandez was performed by team physician Dr. Keith Meister and went as expected. Both Hernandez and Leclerc will be sidelined until at least early in the 2022 season. Meister did Leclerc’s surgery on March 31.

Bush has a flexor strain in his right arm and will get an injection Tuesday, then wait six weeks before a follow-up MRI to determine if the right-hander is ready to start throwing again. Daniels said Bush would then need about six weeks – or about the same length of time he is unable to throw – before being able to pitch again in a game.

After missing 2 1/2 seasons because of a pair of elbow operations, Bush was put on the 10-day injured list Friday with elbow inflammation after three appearances.

The 24-year-old Hernandez had a breakout 2020, when he was 5-1 with a 2.90 ERA in 27 appearances in the pandemic-shortened 60-game season. He had 31 strikeouts and eight walks in 31 innings, relying heavily on a sinker that averaged nearly 98 mph. He was shut down midway through spring training with what the team called a ligament sprain, and he decided to have the Tommy John surgery after a follow-up MRI last week.

“(The MRI) showed some measure of healing. But he was he was still feeling some discomfort in the joint, which after four weeks, medical staff felt like if it was likely to heal non-surgically, then he wouldn’t have felt discomfort at that point,” Daniels said. “Ultimately Jonathan’s call. The decision was made rather than to invest more time in the rehab side, since he was still having symptoms, to go ahead and have the surgery.”

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Tampa Bay Rays deal reliever Hunter Strickland to Los Angeles Angels

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The Tampa Bay Rays traded right-handed relief pitcher Hunter Strickland to the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Strickland, 32, has appeared in 13 games for the Rays this season, registering a 1.69 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 16 innings pitched.

He made the Rays roster in spring training as a non-roster invitee.

The eight-year veteran has a 16-16 career record with 21 saves and a 3.14 ERA and 249 strikeouts. He also has pitched for the Giants, Mariners, Nationals and Mets during his career.

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Chicago Cubs outfielder Ian Happ ‘good’ after being activated from IL

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The Chicago Cubs activated outfielder Ian Happ from the injured list after he missed time due to bruised ribs.

“They’re good,” Happ said Saturday morning. “I feel great. It’s not like anything I’ve ever had before. Working out the last three to four days, being able to throw, hit, run and do everything it takes to play in a major league baseball game.”

Happ, 26, was injured in a collision with second baseman Nico Hoerner as both players converged on a pop up in the outfield earlier this month. Hoerner also spent time on the injured list with a forearm injury. He was activated on Friday.

To make room on the roster for Happ, infielder Ildemaro Vargas was designated for assignment. Happ is batting sixth and playing centerfield against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.

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Los Angeles Dodgers’ AJ Pollock (hamstring) likely headed to IL, Dave Roberts says

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Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder AJ Pollock left Friday night’s 9-6 win over the Miami Marlins with a left hamstring strain and is likely headed for the injured list, manager Dave Roberts said.

Pollock was making his first start since straining his left hamstring last week in a 9-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

In the second inning Friday, Pollock singled in the game’s first run but aggravated his hamstring injury when he took third base on Austin Barnes‘ RBI double. Pollock was removed for a pinch-runner.

“He felt it grab, so kind of right now, with where we’re at, I assume it’s gonna be an IL and we’ll probably have a move tomorrow,” Roberts said.

Pollock is batting .277 with four home runs and 17 RBIs in 32 games.

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