Pirates interview Clint Hurdle for managerial opening

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The Pirates’ search for a new manager is picking up all sorts of steam.

According to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, the Bucs interviewed Rangers hitting coach Clint Hurdle on Thursday in what could be the club’s final managerial interview.

Hurdle enjoyed great success as the Rangers’ hitting coach this season, helping to lead that franchise to its first-ever World Series appearance.  He also had a nice run as manager of the Rockies earlier this decade — a run that included a World Series loss in 2007 to the Red Sox.

The Pirates interviewed eight total candidates for their opening this fall and SI.com’s Jon Heyman reported earlier this week that only two finalists remain: Hurdle and Bucs bench coach Jeff Bannister, who is hoping for a promotion.

For what it’s worth, Tracy Ringolsby of FOXSports.com says that Hurdle appears to be the “leading candidate.”

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.