Matt Murton on the verge of replacing Ichiro Suzuki as Japan's single-season hit king

1 Comment

Two weeks ago, as former Cubs outfielder Matt Murton started closing is on Ichiro Suzuki’s single-season hit record in Japan, there was some speculation that opposing pitchers would cease giving him hittable pitches in an effort to keep him from breaking the record.
That has proven to be overblown, as yesterday Murton tied Suzuki’s record with his 210th hit of the season, and there are still three more games to play. Also of note is that Norichika Aoki has 204 hits, so with a big finish to the season he could potentially surpass Suzuki’s record as well.
I always felt that Murton deserved more of an opportunity to be an everyday player for the Cubs (and then the A’s and Rockies), so I’m very curious to see whether he opts to remain a superstar in Japan or returns to the United States in search of one last chance to play regularly.
Murton is a career .286/.352/.436 hitter and still just 28 years old, so you’d think several MLB teams would be willing to give him a shot.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

G
14 Comments

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

Getty Images
52 Comments

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.