Mariners and Brendan Ryan avoid arbitration with two-year deal

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This deal was announced earlier in the week, then denied, but now it’s officially official.

According to Kirby Arnold of the Everett Herald, the Mariners avoided arbitration with infielder Brendan Ryan by agreeing to a two-year contract.

Terms weren’t disclosed, but Stephen Hawkins of the Associated Press previously reported that Ryan agreed to a two-year, $2.75 million contract that would pay him $1 million this season and $1.75 million in 2012.

Ryan, who turns 29 in March, was acquired from the Cardinals last month after falling out of favor with Tony La Russa and some of his teammates. While he’s still one of the best defensive middle infielders in the game, he collapsed to a meager .223/.279/.294 batting line with a 573 OPS last season. Fits right in with the Mariners, right?

Now that we know Chone Figgins is officially moving back to third base, Ryan projects to be the starting second baseman for the Mariners this season, at least until Dustin Ackley is ready for the big leagues.

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.