Jeff Suppan returns to Royals on a minor league contract

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Released by the Giants near the end of spring training Jeff Suppan has found a new home with the Royals, signing a minor-league contract today.

Suppan pitched for Kansas City from 1998 to 2002, going from journeyman to consistent 200-inning starter during that time, and also knows current Royals manager Ned Yost from their days together with the Brewers. However, he’s now 36 years old and a long way from a dependable innings eater. He’ll join the rotation at Triple-A.

Milwaukee released Suppan in the middle of last season, eating around $8 million in salary, and after latching on with St. Louis he finished 3-8 with a 5.06 ERA in 101 innings overall. This spring he had a 5.50 ERA in 18 innings, allowing 12 runs while managing just five strikeouts, and Suppan hasn’t had an ERA better than the league average since 2007.

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.