MLB releases the 2012 schedule

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Major League Baseball has announced the 2012 schedule this morning. The season begins on Wednesday, April 4.  It ends on Wednesday, October 3. In between: lots of baseball games.

There will be a single game at the Marlins new stadium — make that the Miami Marlins new stadium —  on the 4th, with the Cardinals coming in to visit. Presumably a prime time game.  There will be six games on Thursday the 4th and ten games on Friday the 5th.  The first day with a full slate of games will be Saturday the 6th.  Which means I won’t have a full night of red-eye-scanning box scores for “And That Happened” until Sunday evening the 7th.  Nice way to ease our way into things.

Weirdness: a full four-days off for the All-Star break. Games will resume on the Friday after the Midsummer Classic, not Thursday. Which makes a lot of sense. The press release says this about the interleague schedule:

 The 16th season of Interleague Play will feature many renewals of past World Series, including Reds-Yankees and Pirates-Tigers (starting May 18th); Mets-Yankees, Phillies-Orioles, Astros-White Sox, Blue Jays-Braves, Tigers-Reds and Rangers-Giants (starting June 8th) …

So for those Tigers fans who have been waiting since 1909 for some sweet revenge against the dreaded Pirates, you now have your chance! Vengeance shall be yours!

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.