Mauer denies report of a negotiation deadline

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Yesterday Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan reported that Joe Mauer had imposed an Opening Day deadline on extension talks with the Twins. Mauer’s response? Wha?!

“I’m not going to react to every story/rumor that comes out or comment
on any negotiations. As far as that report, I don’t know where that
came from . . . I’ve always said it will happen when it needs to happen and I truly
believe that. I’m not
the kind of guy that, you know, says by this date we need to have
something done.”

Hard to say how this stuff happens. My guess: either Passan or his source — described as “a source close to the American League Most Valuable Player” — confused Mauer’s understandable desire or reasonable expectation to have something done before Opening Day with a demand that something be done then. This sort of thing happens when you’re essentially playing a game of telephone, which is more or less what all rumor reporting is.

Regardless, no one has denied last week’s report that the Twins are going to go all out to re-sign Mauer, likely before Christmas. With the new stadium and the MVP and his local boy status and all of that, it’s a no-brainer.

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.