Freddy Sanchez finally expected back tonight

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Freddy Sanchez hasn’t played since the middle of last September because of knee and shoulder injuries that both required surgery, but the Giants are planning to activate the 32-year-old second baseman from the disabled list prior to tonight’s game.
Sanchez looked good during a seven-game rehab stint at Single-A and Double-A, going 9-for-20 (.450) with five doubles while most importantly avoiding any setbacks. Bruce Bochy has said he’ll work Sanchez back into the lineup gradually, but injuries to Mark DeRosa and Edgar Renteria lessen the infield logjam and keep the Giants’ manager from having to make any tough calls about playing time.
Once he’s back in the mix expect Sanchez to play just about every day at second base, with Matt Downs returning to a utility man role and Juan Uribe playing shortstop. Sanchez hit .284 with a measly .619 OPS in 25 games for San Francisco after coming over in a midseason trade with Pittsburgh, but the Giants liked him enough to give him a two-year, $12 million deal shortly after the season ended.

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.