Yankees to push back Chamberlain's next start

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As part of the grand plan to keep Joba Chamberlain’s arm from falling off, the Yankees are pushing his next start back by a day or two, instead inserting Chad Gaudin into the rotation for a start this weekend against the Mariners.  The Daily News’ Tim Smith thinks this is silly:

Leave him alone and let him pitch his regular turn, and stop talking about this top-secret plan that was devised, developed and instituted by GM Brian Cashman and Girardi. Enough already.

I’m all for being careful with young arms — and though he seems like he’s been around a long time, Joba is still young — but one wonders whether this treatment isn’t having some unanticipated side effects.  Pitchers are creatures of habit, and based on his quotes in the articles, Chamberlain is always the last to know when he’s pitching.  Jorge Posada, who knows a thing or two about pitchers by now, says “It’s tough with what he’s been going through. He doesn’t know when he’s going to pitch, so it’s tough to mentally put it all together. He’s doing everything he can to stay focused, but it’s tough.”

And though I’m venturing a bit out of my bailiwick with this, I wonder if it’s possible that extra rest does Joba some harm, albeit small harm. Perhaps he feels almost too strong when he pitches on extra rest and thus (a) overthrows; and/or (b) doesn’t feel as pressing a need to be efficient and conserve energy?

Worth thinking about. And, hey, given the lead the Yankees have right now, there’s room to experiment a bit.

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.