Cubs interim manager Mike Quade benches Starlin Castro for "lapses in concentration"

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Cubs interim manager Mike Quade benched Starlin Castro yesterday for what he called “lapses in concentration” after the Cubs’ rookie shortstop forgot how many outs there were and got picked off first base Sunday.

Castro also made an error in the field Friday and Quade, who’s gone 9-4 since taking over the 51-74 team from Lou Piniella last month, told Gordon Wittenmeyer of the Chicago Sun-Times that he’ll be on the bench for at least two games to “reflect” on his various mistakes:

I want the guy to take a step back, take a look at what goes on around here, from a different perspective, sitting with us and his teammates. It’ll give him a chance to clear his head and figure out exactly how he can compartmentalize–if that’s the right word–all the different tasks that go with that position at this level. I think the break will help him.

Look, this kid has a chance to be so incredibly valuable, obviously, to this franchise. And the more he can do to help himself, to clear his mind and be consistent in what he does is going to determine just how good he’s going to be. So you take a moment like this, and you go ahead and do it.

Castro took the benching in stride, which is nice to see given that a 20-year-old rookie hitting .317 could just as easily have scoffed at being reprimanded by a manager who may not even be around after this month. And if Quade does actually get the full-time job in Chicago having Castro on his side will be a huge factor in his success, so the benching potentially has a much bigger impact than just couple days off.

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.