Red Sox claim Taylor Buchholz off waivers from Blue Jays

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For the second time in a week a Blue Jays player was snatched up off waivers after Toronto cut them loose to clear space on the 40-man roster.

First the A’s claimed Edwin Encarnacion as a potential alternative to Kevin Kouzmanoff at third base and yesterday the Red Sox claimed Taylor Buchholz as a buy-low bullpen candidate with some upside.

Buchholz had an excellent season as a setup man for the Rockies in 2008, posting a 2.17 ERA, .188 opponents’ batting average, and 56/18 K/BB ratio in 66 innings, but he missed all of 2009 and most of 2010 following Tommy John elbow surgery.

He returned to the mound to throw 12 innings down the stretch this season, but showed decreased velocity with both his fastball and off-speed stuff. Still, as a 28-year-old with a solid track record Buchholz represents a nice flier for the Red Sox, who’ll hope he’s healthy enough to emerge as a middle-relief option heading into 2011.

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.