J.D. Drew already has his first nagging injury of 2011

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Buried in Nick Cafardo’s excellent Sunday notes column on the Boston Globe‘s website is this bit of troubling news for Red Sox fans: J.D. Drew has been experiencing discomfort in his hamstring this offseason and is likely to be limited when spring training opens later this month.

Drew battled hamstring problems throughout much of the 2010 season.  He didn’t hit the disabled list once, but that seems likely to change this year if he is already having struggles here in early February.

The good news is that the Red Sox have enough depth to handle the two- or three-week stints when he goes down.  Ryan Kalish is a well-rounded player and just about ready to become a big league regular.  Mike Cameron and Darnell McDonald are both quality backups, too.

Boston is used to Drew’s nagging injuries.  He started only 127 games in 2010, 124 in 2009 and 105 in 2008.  That he’s already having problems is unfortunate, but the Sox are prepared.

Drew, 35, is entering the final season of a five-year, $72 million contract that he signed in December of 2006.  He has spoken a few times about retiring when the 2011 season concludes.

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.