UPDATE: Brewers agree to long-term contract with Yovani Gallardo

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UPDATE: Gallardo gets a five-year deal (including 2010) with a sixth-year team option, so the Brewers potentially bought out his first two seasons of free agency.
11:45 AM ET: Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the Brewers “are believed to be closing in on contract extension” with Opening Day starter Yovani Gallardo.
Milwaukee has scheduled a press conference for this afternoon, presumably to announce the deal with Gallardo, who will be arbitration eligible for the first time next season and has three more years remaining under team control.
After missing most of 2008 with an ACL team in his right knee, Gallardo won 13 games with a 3.73 ERA and 204 strikeouts in 185.2 innings as a 23-year-old last season. His control was shaky with the second-most walks in the league at 94, but he also ranked second in strikeout rate and held opponents to a .219 batting average.
Gallardo had good control in the minors and walked just 45 batters in 134.1 innings before suffering the knee injury, so at age 24 he seems likely to take a big step forward this season. In other words, if the Brewers can pre-pay for his arbitration years and buy out a year or two of free agency before his value rises they’ll have taken a very smart risk.

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.