Indians send Matt LaPorta back to Triple-A

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Matt LaPorta was one of my favorite sleeper picks coming into the season, but he was slowed early on while making his way back from offseason hip surgery and batted just .218 with one homer and a .567 OPS through 35 games before the Indians demoted him to the minors Monday.
Andy Marte came off the disabled list to replace LaPorta on the roster, but doesn’t figure to see much action barring more injuries. If healthy I’m still confident that LaPorta will eventually develop into a power bat and likely middle-of-the-order threat for Cleveland, but for now the Indians will stick with veterans Russell Branyan and Austin Kearns at first base and left field, and perhaps try to cash them in for value at the trade deadline.
LaPorta is 25 years old and already crushed Triple-A pitching, so his return will rely on looking healthy and like his old self. Cleveland won’t give up on him any time soon after acquiring LaPorta as the centerpiece of the CC Sabathia trade to Milwaukee.

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.