Derek Jeter will report to spring training early to work with hitting coach Kevin Long

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Coming off the worst season of his career, Derek Jeter will report to the Yankees’ spring training complex in two weeks to get a head start working with hitting coach Kevin Long.

Full squad workouts aren’t until February 20, but Long told Brian Costello of the New York Post that Jeter “wants to get going” and has already started to make some mechanical adjustments:

We’re well on our way to getting that taken care of and seeing if we can’t speed up the process with him a little bit. I just want to pick up basically where we left off last year and go from there. I think we found something with his stride and the direction of his stride and going up and down with his stride instead of gaining distance and going in. We’re going to try to keep it as simple as we can, try to control his movement and try to get him to be more consistent through the contact point.

Jeter batted .330 in April last year, but then hit just .260 with a lowly .344 slugging percentage in 136 games from May 1 to the end of the season while never cracking even a .725 OPS in a month. After some ugliness in negotiations played out through the media, Jeter and the Yankees agreed to a three-year, $51 million deal that will keep him in New York through at least age 39.

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.