ESPN to replace Jon Miller, Joe Morgan on Sunday nights

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After 20 years in the booth together, Jon Miller and Joe Morgan are on the way out as ESPN’s broadcast team for Sunday Night Baseball.  The network has declined to renew Morgan’s contract.  Miller is being given the option of staying on as the play-by-play radio voice on Sunday night.

Expectations are that ESPN will turn Miller’s role over to Dan Shulman.  Orel Hershiser, who was the third person in the Sunday night booth last season, will likely remain and could be joined by Bobby Valentine, according to the New York Times report.

Morgan’s departure will be welcomed by many.  While there’s no doubting his knowledge for the game, his biases and his tendency to repeat himself made him a whipping boy in the stats community for many years.  Miller remains among the very best at what he does, but it was probably time for ESPN to bring in some younger blood.  Plus, Miller will continue to get plenty of air time with the Giants.

Personally, I’d rather ESPN go to Jon Sciambi over Shulman, but Sciambi is still something of a newcomer at the network.  The featured role should be his someday.

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.