Heyman: Phillies, Giants are favorites for Carlos Beltran

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With speculation flying that Carlos Beltran won’t accept a trade to an American League team, SI.com’s Jon Heyman said Friday afternoon that he sees the Phillies and Giants as the favorites to land the Mets outfielder, with the Braves and Brewers also in the running.

ESPN’s Buster Olney said earlier Friday that five teams were in the mix and didn’t include Milwaukee.  He said the Red Sox, Giants, Phillies, Braves and Rangers were the “serious teams.”

If they’re willing to part with either outfielder Gary Brown or RHP Zack Wheeler, the Giants would seem to be in the best position to land Beltran.  The Phillies would be crazy to give up Domonic Brown for two-plus months of Beltran, and while first baseman Jonathan Singleton might be up for grabs, he’s not as good of a fit in New York of Gary Brown would be.  The Phillies could instead try a deal with top pitching prospect Jarred Cosart.  Vance Worley isn’t believed to be on the table.

The Mets are believed to be looking at left-hander Mike Minor in a Beltran deal with the Braves.

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.