Acta not fired. Yet.

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Nationals’ manager Manny Acta is rumored to be out the door, but no one has told him that yet:

After
today’s game, the elephant remained in the room. Manny Acta has in fact
boarded the team plane, heading to New York for the upcoming series
against the Yankees. But that begins Tuesday. We’ll see what happens
tomorrow.

Not quite the same thing as Omar Minaya allowing
Willie Randolph to get on a plane and fly all the way out to California
before being fired last year, but if the reports of his impending
demise are true, I can’t imagine why the Nats didn’t simply fire Acta
after yesterday’s game. Or, better yet, before yesterday’s game.
There’s no percentage in letting a guy twist in the wind like this. And
he is twisting. Team president Stan Kasten had the chance to dispel this rumor over the weekend and didn’t. When you see that, you can pretty much bank on the fact that the axe is ready to swing.

While
Kasten himself has a good reputation, there is a strong sense inside
the game that the Nationals’ owners are clueless when it comes to
baseball operations. But don’t let me passing along rumors convince
you: the Nats’ baseball operations over the past few years are evidence
enough that they have no idea what they’re doing. Letting a manager
dangle like this — which sends a negative message to anyone else who
may one day want to manager this club themselves — is yet another
example of the Nats simply getting it wrong.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.