Webb finally seeing 'light at end of the tunnel'

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webb stretching.jpgDiamondbacks starter Brandon Webb hasn’t appeared in a major league game since September of 2009 due to ongoing shoulder troubles and isn’t close to returning this season.  But he did finally make a bit of progress on Saturday, according to the Associated Press.

Webb fired a 30-pitch bullpen session at the sudden request of Arizona pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. and told reporters afterward that he is finally beginning to see “a little light at the end of the tunnel.”  It was the first time he had toed a pitching rubber in close to three months and he felt no pain or discomfort.

The 31-year-old right-hander owns a 3.27 career ERA, a 1.24 career WHIP and an 87-62 lifetime record.  To say he’s been successful through his first seven professional seasons would be an understatement, but many are beginning to compare his injury-related fall from grace to that of Mark Mulder’s.  Let’s hope that kind of talk turns out to be premature.  Mulder, 32, is currently without a team.

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.