The Nationals don’t intend to go after Prince Fielder

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Bill Ladson of MLB.com says that the Nationals don’t intend to pursue to Prince Fielder in free agency this winter.  Normally this kind of thing wouldn’t be terribly significant, especially in August, but it probably matters here.

As we’ve seen these past few years, the Nationals have become Scott Boras’ huckleberry.  If he’s got a guy who needs signed or drafted, Mike Rizzo will pick up the phone.  Fielder is a Boras guy. Boras’ biggest guy this winter.  Given the recent track record, it would not be at all surprising for people to speculate the Nats are in the bidding.

Indeed, it’s not at all hard to believe that Boras and whatever media surrogates he can muster will do their best to spread the word of the Nationals’ totally serious interest in making a big splash. They’ll point to the improved Nats’ team. The prospect of Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper on the horizon. The fact that, as the Jayson Werth deal showed, they’re not afraid to spend money.  They’ll use that to try to convince some other team who may be interested in Fielder that they had best bid high or not bother.

And with this report — assuming it’s true — it seems like the Nats are unwilling to be party to those kinds of games.

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.