Adrian Gonzalez has hit just one homer in 140 plate appearances since the All-Star break and manager Terry Francona speculated today that a stiff neck may be to blame for the lack of power.
“I think he still feels it,” Francona told Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston. “It may have cut into his power a little bit, but he’ll play and will continue to play. If there were ever a chance we could give him a couple of days off, we’d probably do it, but it’s not the time to do it right now.”
Francona noted that most players are at less than 100 percent by this point in the season and, despite his lack of homers, Gonzalez has hit .331 with seven doubles in 30 games since the break. Overall this season Gonzalez leads the league with a .348 batting average and ranks third in on-base percentage, sixth in slugging percentage, and fourth in OPS.
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.
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.