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    SURPRISE Harold Baines Jersey , Ariz. (AP) — Texas Rangers pitcher Yohander Mendez could return from his elbow injury around midseason.The team’s fear that Mendez might miss the entire year was allayed Monday when an MRI revealed the 24-year-old lefty has a Grade 1 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament.“It’s really good news. I think we dodged a bullet,” assistant general manager Shiraz Rehman said. “There’s some inflammation and some fluid in there, but no surgery at all. At this point, six weeks of no throw, and then we’ll build him back up.”That timetable calls for an April 29 return to throwing, beginning on flat ground from a close distance. By the time Mendez is ready to pitch in a game, it is likely to be another six weeks, probably in mid-June.“Think of him as a second-half pitcher for us at this point, because we want to be conservative with it,” Rehman said.Mendez left Sunday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks after striking out the first batter he faced in the third inning.“It hurt on that last pitch,” he said. “I felt something in my elbow. It felt weird. I said, ‘No more.’”The Rangers have three projected starters Chris Sale Jersey , Shelby Miller, Drew Smyly and Edinson Volquez, returning from Tommy John surgery, so Mendez was expected to provide depth in the early part of the season. While that is no longer the case, he could play a role if needs arise in the second half.“With the depth that guy provides us, it’s huge,” manager Chris Woodward said. “He had a really good spring training. He was really committed to how he was throwing his pitches, where he was throwing, so to not have to lose him for an entire year is really big for us.”The Venezuelan native and former prime prospect went 2-2 with a 5.53 ERA in eight games, five starts, for the Rangers last year. He has appeared in the majors each of the past three seasons.“It is good news because I am not going to miss the whole year,” Mendez said. “I am going to prepare and stay healthy until I can return.”NOTES: OF Joey Gallo Rusney Castillo Jersey , who has hit a combined 81 home runs the past two seasons, is progressing from a groin strain sustained last Thursday. Rehman said Gallo was riding a stationary bike Monday and would probably appear in a game at the end of the week. Regarding Gallo and 1B Ronald Guzman, who is hampered by left knee soreness, Rehman said: “Pretty good so far. Improved, increased activity on both of their fronts.” Guzman could appear in a game on Wednesday. The St. Louis Cardinals acquired first baseman Paul Goldschmidt in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks, that was definitely worth the price they paid for.The package that the Cardinals had to put together for Goldschmidt was expensive, but he provides them everything that they have been missing for many seasons. He will provide his new team with qualities they haven’t had in a long time.Goldschmidt is the type of player the Cardinals have been missing since former player, Albert Pujols, left the team for a big money contract from the Los Angeles Angles. He supply’s them with middle-of-the-order power, and great defense at first base.advertisingPaul Goldschmidt is the sort of middle-of-the-order force the Cardinals have lacked since Albert Pujols left. A momentous trade for them. He’s got a year left on his deal, and the Cardinals paid handsomely for him.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 5, 2018The six-time All-Star will give the Cardinals a major upgrade just off his offensive capability alone. Last season Brock Holt Jersey , Goldschmidt hit 33 home-runs and drove in 83 runs. But that’s just the beginning, he also hit for a .290 batting average and a .922 OPS.There’s no question that Goldschmidt carried the Diamondbacks offense again for the sixth straight season. Over those six seasons, he has averaged 30 home-runs and 100 RBI’s. With his break-out year back in 2013, when he hit for 36 long-balls and 125 RBI’s.Goldschmidt will likely be seen carrying the Cardinals offesnse next season as well, which is why he should be hitting in the number three spot in their lineup heading into 2019. Here is what the projected batting lineup will look like for the Cardinals.advertisingMatt Carpenter, Yadier Molina, Paul Goldschmidt, Marcell Ozuna, Paul DeJong, Kolten Wong, Harrison Bader, Dexter Folwer http://www.redsoxproshops.com/authentic-dustin-pedroia-jersey , and the pitcher’s spot.Paul Goldschmidt is 1 of 2 position players and 3 players overall with 4.5+ WAR each season since 2013. The others are Mike Trout and Max Scherzer.— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) December 5, 2018The 31-year-old also provides spectacular defense at the first-base position. He is a Gold Glove award winner and has never made more than seven errors in a season. Which will improve the Cardinals from a season ago, because they made a league-leading 20 errors at first-base last season.Carpenter played the majority of last season at first-base. He committed eight of those 20 total errors, while also creating eight errors at the third-base position as well. He has always been known for making errors throughout his entire career. Which is where Goldschmidt will look to help clean up that area.advertisingWith Goldschmidt playing at first-base, Carpenter will be able to return to his regular position at third-base. The rest of the Cardinals defense is projected to look as follows; Molina at catcher, Goldschmidt at first-base, Wong at second-base, DeJong at shortstop, Carpenter at third-base, Ozuna in left-field, Fowler in center-field and Hader in right-field.The #Cardinals get Paul Goldschmidt in a painless fashion. It is not often that a club adds an MVP caliber-player like this without it stinging a bit. The three players may help the #Dbacks and the draft pick helps too but the Cards are protected with their depth.— Steve Phillips (@StevePhillipsGM) December 5, 2018The acquisition of Goldschmidt did cost the Cardinals some very valuable assets. They were forced to give up聽Carson Kelly David Price Jersey , Luke Weaver, Andy Young and the club’s Compensation Round B selection in the 2019 MLB Draft.Kelly and Weaver are the centerpieces of the return going back to the Diamondbacks. Kelly is a very solid defensive catcher, but where he lacks is in his hitting. He will be able to start in games this season for the Diamondbacks, but will likely be hitting at the bottom of the lineup with his .154 batting average in 63 appearances in the MLB.For Weaver, his future as either a starter or a reliever is still undecided. It sounds like the Diamondbacks are going to try him out as a starter heading into next season. Last season, he started 25 games for the Cardinals and also appeared five times from out of the bullpen.The Cardinals were able to include these players because of the depth they have at those two positions. Andrew Knizner is close to as good of a catcher as Kelly is, but he is a way more developed hitter then Kelly as well.They also have Alex Reyes coming back from Tommy John surgery and will likely factor into the role that is left vacant by Weaver next season. Getty ImagesGoldschmidt will only be under contract for this upcoming season. He is scheduled to make $14.5 million for next season. The Cardinals will likely offer him a three or four year extension either before the season or after it.He will only be 32-years-old heading into the 2020 season, so it’s very unlikely that he will regress to the point where he is unable to still produce like he is now. Which is why if the Cardinals were able to re-sign him until his mid-to-late 30s, they should be able to still get quality production out of him.The decision to acquire Goldschmidt from the Diamondbacks was definitely the right one for the Cardinals. He is the key piece they have been missing from their lineup. Which is why with the trade now completed, the Cardinals are a team ready to compete for the division next season.

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