Astros' Hampton to miss all of 2010 after surgery

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The news couldn’t have been much worse for Mike Hampton on Tuesday, as the free-agent-to-be was diagnosed with a completely torn rotator cuff during surgery. He also needed work done on his labrum, and he’s expected to miss all of 2010.
Before going down in mid-August, Hampton had made 21 starts this year, his highest total since 2004. Still, he wasn’t very impressive in compiling a 7-10 record with a 5.30 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP. The Astros figured to have only limited interest in re-signing him for 2010. He probably would have had to compete for a rotation spot wherever he ended up.
Now he’ll miss what would have been his age-37 season, putting him in the unenviable position of attempting a comeback at 38. He was still getting pretty good movement this season on his sinking and cutting fastballs, but his velocity has declined with age and his once formidable slider has disappeared from his arsenal.
This could well be the end of the line for the one-time 22-game winner. Unfortunately, he will likely be remembered less for his status as one of the game’s best left-handers in the second half of the ’90s than for the hideous return he provided the Rockies on the eight-year, $121 million contract he agreed to after the 2000 season. It still ranks as the 13th-biggest contract ever signed by a major leaguer and fourth-biggest for a pitcher.

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.