Pedro to start Wednesday; Moyer to the pen

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Pedro Martinez is going to be activated before Wednesday’s game against the Cubs, and Jamie Moyer is going to the bullpen.  It’s a move that makes sense in that if anyone was going to lose their job in the rotation it had to be Moyer, who’s getting abused lately and currently has a 5.47 ERA.

I know everyone is going to be watching Pedro, but I’m actually more curious as to how Manuel is going to deploy Moyer.  The impulse — because he’s a veteran with a year left on his contract and no one wants to put him out to pasture yet — would be to use him as a lefty specialist or some other semi-prominent role.  If so, Manuel should avoid this impulse given that, over his career, lefties have actually hit Moyer better than righties (.765 OPS vs. .742 OPS), even though that’s not the case in 2009.

What I’d really like to see is Moyer used as an old-timey swingman, they type of which we just don’t see much anymore in this age of bullpen specialists. Lots of mopup. Lots of use as a longman. A spot start here or there if a particular matchup makes sense or if the Phillies build a bit more of a division lead.  If they do that right — and if Moyer doesn’t simply implode in his new role — Philadelphia could maybe reduce the number of guys in the pen and do some things with its bench that other teams can’t do such as have a pure speed guy hanging around or something.

We’ll see if that happens.  And we’ll see Wednesday if Pedro has anything left in the tank. 

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.