Report: Yadier Molina, Gerald Laird fought last night

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The Cardinals just dropped two of three to the Brewers in a crucial early-week series, falling 3 1/2 games back of Milwaukee in the National League Central standings. And now it appears that the Cards’ problems have spilled off the field.

According to Craig Mish of SiriusXM, catchers Yadier Molina and Gerald Laird got into an “ugly” fight on Wednesday night after arriving in south Florida for a four-game series against the Marlins.

Not many details are currently available, and it’s possible that nothing more will leak out, but Mish was told that Laird called Molina a “cheater” at one point during the scuffle and that teammates eventually had to separate the two backstops.

Molina was suspended five games by Major League Baseball for bumping and spraying spittle onto home plate umpire Rob Drake during Tuesday night’s 8-7 victory in Milwaukee. Laird has been vaulted into starting duties in his absence. Perhaps that situation somehow played into Wednesday’s altercation.

Or maybe the brawl was born out of a high-stakes poker game. Bud Selig hates those.

UPDATE, 8:04 PM: According to Tim McKernan of KFNS 590 in St. Louis, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak has confirmed that Laird and Molina got “into a disagreement” on Wednesday night.

Giancarlo Stanton dented the outfield wall in Marlins Park

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If we haven’t said it before, it bears repeating: When it comes to pure muscle mass and power, no major league player rivals the sheer force of Giancarlo Stanton. His record-setting 504-foot home run in 2016 has yet to be bested in the Statcast era (though it narrowly beat out Jake Arrieta‘s 503-foot blast in 2015, because baseball is weird), he broke the Dodgers’ outfield fence on an attempted catch at the wall last Sunday, and he carries 25 home runs that have each exceeded 460 feet.

It should come as little surprise, then, that when Stanton muscled his 12th home run of the season against the Angels on Friday night, it not only hit the batter’s eye, but left a visible dent in the wall:

Stanton’s mammoth shot put the Marlins on the board in the first inning, setting the stage for a four-run effort that gave the club an early lead. The home run measured a cool 462 feet, the slugger’s longest of the season. He still has a little ways to go to catch up to the 2017 season leader, Jake Lamb, whose 481-foot home run against the Rockies currently leads the pack.

The next item on Stanton’s bucket list? If we’re lucky, maybe something a little like this:

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.