Gabe Gross retires

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Gabe Gross didn’t have the most memorable major league career — I think I wrote his name as “Greg Gross” approximately 75% of the time I had occasion to refer to him — but he managed to hang around for seven years in the majors. And as I mentioned in my review for “Time in the Minors” yesterday, I have a new reverence and respect for anyone who even makes the majors, even if they never excel.

Gross at his best had some moderately useful on-base skills, but never so good that it justified a full-time job. His best season came as a platoon guy with the Brewers in 2006 when he hit .274/.382/.476 in 252 plate appearances.  He played for the Rays in the 2008 World Series too, which is more than most guys get to do.

He got a call from the Marlins two weeks ago. They were interested in signing him to a minor league deal. He agreed to do it on a Sunday, but the Marlins couldn’t get anyone to do his physical that day. Gross slept on it and changed his mind the next day, opting to retire.

If a good night’s sleep is the deal breaker, yeah, I suppose that means you’re ready to move on to new pursuits in life.  Happy trails, Gabe.

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.