Looper at home, 'waiting for an acceptable offer'

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MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that Braden Looper “is doing all he can to stay in shape at home near Chicago, waiting for an acceptable offer” from the Dodgers (or another team, in theory).
Los Angeles was linked to Looper throughout the offseason, particularly once their other starter targets like Joel Pineiro and Jon Garland signed elsewhere, but Gurnick notes that the Dodgers are still only willing to give the veteran right-hander a minor-league deal.
Not only is Looper holding out for a guaranteed contract, he reportedly turned down an offer from the Nationals last month. All of which takes a lot of … well, let’s say courage, from a 35-year-old who had a 5.22 ERA in 194.2 innings last season while serving up a league-high 39 homers.
Looper was a full-time reliever until 2007, and since then he has a 4.75 ERA in 97 starts. In other words he’s a 35-year-old fifth starter coming off a terrible season and the Dodgers are willing to pay him as such, but Looper wants more. Good luck. Right now the Dodgers have Eric Stults, Scott Elbert, James McDonald, Charlie Haeger, Ramon Ortiz, and Russ Ortiz competing for the final rotation spot.

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.