Jack Cust accepts minor league assignment

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Jack Cust has officially accepted a minor league assignment with Triple-A Sacramento, reports Jeff Fletcher of AOL Fanhouse. Cust was pretty upset — and rightfully so — when he was designated for assignment just one week ago, calling the decision “a joke,” but he would have been a dope to pass up $2.65 million guaranteed.

Cust, 31, batted just .240/.356/.417 with 25 homers, 70 RBI and a .773 OPS last season, easily his worst season in Oakland, but he shouldn’t stay too far away from a phone with Eric Chavez currently drawing the majority of at-bats as the designated hitter. Chavez, who hasn’t resembled anything close to an imposing hitter since 2005, is 3-for-18 (.167) to begin the year. Staying off the field may be the best way to preserve his health, but as we all know by now, he could suffer an injury at any time.

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.