MLB bans Jim Joyce from umpiring games involving Armando Galarraga’s team

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It’s a moot point for now after the Diamondbacks demoted Armando Galarraga to Triple-A, but Amy K. Nelson of ESPN.com reports that MLB has banned Jim Joyce from umpiring “any series in which Galarraga’s team plays.”

Joyce’s botched call ruining Galarraga’s perfect game last season forever linked them in history and they’ve since become business partners by co-authoring a book, so MLB’s ruling certainly makes sense.

Nelson reports that Joyce was replaced by another umpire when his crew worked a Diamondbacks series in early May, noting the similar arrangement with umpire Jim Wolf and his brother, Brewers pitcher Randy Wolf. Wolf is allowed to umpire games involving his brother’s team, but is not allowed to call balls and strikes when his brother is pitching.

Today is the one-year anniversary of the “imperfect game” and Galarraga will spend it at Triple-A after posting a 5.91 ERA in eight starts for the Diamondbacks. Overall since the game he’s 5-12 with a 5.10 ERA in 29 starts.

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.