Angels in the market for a first baseman following Kendry Morales' surgery

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Earlier this week the Angels were said to be holding out at least some hope of Kendry Morales playing again this season, but he underwent surgery yesterday to repair the broken ankle suffering while celebrating a walk-off homer and afterward indications were that he’s all but certain to miss the rest of the year.
Now that the White Sox are admitted sellers, it’ll be interesting to see if the Angels are once again linked to Paul Konerko. Mike Napoli, Robb Quinlan, and Michael Ryan have been splitting starts at first base in Morales’ absence, but once Jeff Mathis returns from the disabled list Napoli will likely be freed up to spend most of his time at first base.
Napoli had never played an inning at first base in the majors prior to Morales’ injury last month, but his shaky defense behind the plate has always kept him from getting more action at catcher and the 28-year-old is a career .257/.354/.493 hitter with an average of 30 homers per 500 at-bats. Napoli has a career OPS of .846. By comparison, Konerko’s career OPS is .848, and he’s six years older and would cost multiple prospects.
“If [general manager] Tony [Reagins] finds something to improve the team, he’ll act on it,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “If Mike [Napoli] is playing well at first, that will add depth and make us better. Right now, in talking to Tony, nothing is imminent. But I don’t think Tony would put anything on hold if it’s the right move for us.” Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times speculates that the Angels could interested in Adam LaRoche, Lance Berkman, Ty Wigginton, Russell Branyan, and Xavier Nady in addition to Konerko.

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.