C.J. Wilson gets nod as Opening Day starter for Rangers

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Since the site has been overtaken by Opening Day starter announcements, here’s one more: C.J. Wilson will get the Game 1 assignment for the Rangers.

A year ago at this time Wilson was a reliever trying to convince the Rangers he should get a chance to join the rotation and now he’s the Opening Day starter for the defending American League champs, which speaks to just how impressive he was last season (and also to Cliff Lee signing with the Phillies, of course).

Wilson went 15-8 with a 3.35 ERA in 33 starts despite being exclusively a reliever since mid-2005. He struggled to consistently throw strikes at times, leading the league with 93 walks in 204 innings, but racked up 170 strikeouts and held opponents to a .217 batting average while serving up just 10 homers in 850 plate appearances.

Wilson gets the nod over Colby Lewis, with Brandon Webb, Tommy Hunter, and Derek Holland expected to fill out the rest of the rotation (assuming that Webb is healthy by Opening Day). Texas’ starter on Opening Day last season is actually still on the roster, but Scott Feldman went 7-11 with a 5.48 ERA and is struggling to come back from knee surgery.

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.