Francoeur for the All-Star Game

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I’ve known Sports Illustrated’s Tim Marchman — in that way that people
know each other on the Internet — for a year or two now. And I thought
we were friends and everything. So why he’s trying to raise my blood
pressure and force me into having a heart attack I don’t know, but he’s
doing it anyway. From his All-Star picks column:

Right field: Jeff Francoeur, Atlanta: Apologies to Justin
Upton, but when baseball no longer has a place for the likes of
Francoeur, a player so extravagantly talented that he can hold down a
major league job despite seemingly having little more idea of what to
do with that talent than a tomcat, baseball will no longer be worth
watching.

May as well agitate for a contract extension while you’re at it, Tim. Sheesh.

(thanks to reader Ernest O. for the link)

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.