Yankees find their platoon bat in Marcus Thames

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For much of the offseason the assumption has been that the Yankees would sign a right-handed bat to platoon with Brett Gardner or Randy Winn in left field, and now SI.com’s Jon Heyman reports that they’ve found their man in Marcus Thames.
Thames actually came up through the Yankees’ farm system after being a 30th-round pick in 1996, but New York traded him to Texas for Ruben Sierra in mid-2003 and then Detroit signed him off the scrap heap a short time later.
He’s spent the past six seasons as a part-time player for the Tigers, getting around 350 plate appearances per year against primarily left-handed pitching. Thames has elite raw power, averaging 33 homers per 500 at-bats, but has hit just .234 with an ugly .291 on-base percentage against right-handers during his career.
However, the Yankees have plenty of left-handed bats to plug into the lineup against righties and will simply need Thames to knock around left-handed pitching, which he’s done to the tune of .256/.329/.516. Right now it looks like Winn and Gardner will compete for the left field job, with the winner forming a platoon with the 32-year-old Thames and the loser serving as fourth outfielder.

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.