Mitchell Boggs goes from closer to Triple-A in three weeks

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When the Cardinals bumped Ryan Franklin from the closer role last month they turned to Mitchell Boggs as his replacement and the 27-year-old right-hander responded by converting his first three save chances.

Boggs blew his fourth save chance on April 26 and hasn’t been given another ninth-inning lead since. And today the Cardinals demoted him to Triple-A.

Boggs has struggled of late, allowing five runs in his last six appearances, but his overall numbers are just fine with a 3.66 ERA, .233 opponents’ batting average, and 19/4 K/BB ratio in 20 innings. He also has a track record of success with a 3.61 ERA in 67 innings as a setup man last season.

All of which makes it very odd that the Cardinals thought enough of Boggs to make him the fill-in closer three weeks ago and now don’t even think he’s worth keeping in the majors. One bad week apparently trumps the 3.50 ERA he posted in his first 95 innings as a reliever.

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.