Joel Zumaya is one more injury from “finding another job”

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Joel Zumaya is hoping to be fully recovered from his latest significant arm injury in time for spring training, but the flame-throwing right-hander told Jason Beck of MLB.com that his next injury would probably be his last one:

I’m trying to make some believers. This year’s going to be my make-it-or-break-it year. If I get hurt again, I’m basically going to be done with baseball. I’m going to have to find another job.

Zumaya is still just 26 years old and has remarkably managed to maintain his triple-digit fastball despite seemingly coming back from a different injury every season, but it’s tough to blame him for not wanting to come back from another one. Right now he’s rehabbing the gruesome-looking fractured elbow that occurred mid-pitch in June, and he’s also undergone past surgeries on his shoulder and finger.

Detroit will reportedly tender Zumaya a contract for 2011, although there’s speculation that the Tigers may try to work out a pre-arbitration deal rather than risk having to give him a raise to over $1 million. And if he does have to go “find another job” after next year, hopefully Zumaya saved some of the $3 million or so he’s earned so far. Triple-digit fastballs look better coming out of the bullpen than they do on top of a resume.

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.