Brian Roberts, Mike Gonzalez not close to rejoining Orioles

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New Orioles manager Juan Samuel delivered some more bad news Tuesday when he made it clear that neither Brian Roberts nor Mike Gonzalez were ready to help the team with the game’s worst record.
Roberts appeared on pace for a mid-June return before contracting pneumonia last month. That setback, though, may prove mild to the one he suffered last week. Roberts’ back is again bothering him, though the Orioles are hoping it’s not related to the herniated disc that has kept him on the shelf since April 10.
Roberts was reexamined Tuesday and is due for more tests this week before the Orioles update his condition. Samuel indicated that there’s no longer any timetable for his return. Speculation that he may need season-ending surgery will only increase until the Orioles release something definitive.
Gonzalez, who was also aiming for a mid-June return from a left shoulder strain, threw in the mid-80s during a simulated inning Tuesday. Instead of rebuilding arm strength, he’s actually lost velocity since he resumed throwing.
The lone good news is that Alfredo Simon, who was filling in for Gonzalez in the closer’s role before suffering a strained hamstring last month, is making steady progress and might return next week.

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.