Mark Ellis to return soon, but might have lost starting job

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A’s second baseman Mark Ellis told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle this weekend that he expects to be activated from the 15-day disabled list on June 22, the first day he’s eligible.

Ellis was shut down just five days ago with a sore right hamstring, but he ran at about 75 percent effort on Saturday afternoon and also took grounders on the infield during batting practice. He’s getting healthy quickly and should be ready to head out on a minor league rehab assignment early this week.

Now comes the big question: Will Ellis have a starting job upon returning to the major leagues?

The A’s called up top infield prospect Jemile Weeks when they disabled Ellis on June 7, and Weeks has brought an element of excitement to the Oakland batting order. Through his first 19 major league plate appearances, the 24-year-old is hitting .353/.389/.647 with two triples, a double and an RBI.

“I know I’m a good player, I know he’s a good player, and you can’t have too many good players,” Ellis acknowledged Saturday. “These things have a way of working themselves out.”

A’s interim manager Bob Melvin told reporters that he’s evaluating the situation on a “day to day” basis.

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.