Believe it or not, Manny's Return represents an opportunity for the Rockies

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The conventional wisdom went that anyone who had any plans of catching
up with the Dodgers in the NL West should have made their move while
Manny Ramirez was on suspension. Troy Renck of the Denver Post thinks that wisdom gets it exactly backwards:

Manny Ramirez returns Friday. That’s when the Rockies need to make
up ground. I know it doesn’t make any sense that the Dodgers will be
worse with their best player back. But hear me out. Ramirez isn’t
returning after missing a few days with a strained hamstring or sore
knee. He will have missed 50 games for cheating — a lengthy,
humiliating absence that’s foreign to him. When Ramirez rejoins the
lineup Friday, it might as well be March 1. That’s how far he will be
behind.

“It’s not like he’s going to hit five home runs in the first 10
games,” Dodgers third-base coach Larry Bowa said. “It’s going to take
him a few weeks to get going.”

I can see the logic there, and it’s made even clearer by the schedule,
which has the Rockies facing the Diamondbacks, Nats, and Braves — who
Renck sadly but accurately calls “mediocre” — facing Colorado in the
first ten days post-Manny.

Granted, any talk of a post-Manny return Rockies run would be
meaningless if it wasn’t for the fact that the Rockies made a hell of a
run while Manny was gone,
but the point remains a good one: whether the NL West becomes a real
race as opposed to a Giants-Rockies wild card sprint may very well be
decided as Manny Ramirez clears his throat over the next two weeks.

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.