Asdrubal Cabrera breaks a home run record

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Not the home run record, because that probably would have gotten some more hype.  But it is a record nonetheless.  By hitting No. 24 today, Cleveland’s Asdrubal Cabrera broke the single-season record for homers by a Venezuelan shortstop.

OK, yeah, Babe Ruth wasn’t eligible for this one.

Alex Gonzalez had held the record, hitting 23 in 2004 with the Marlins and then matching that total with the Blue Jays and Braves last year.  Carlos Guillen has the next three biggest seasons: he had 21 homers while primarily playing shortstop in 2007, 20 in 2004 and 19 in 2006.  And then there are a couple of more Gonzalez seasons before one gets to Dave Concepcion’s career-high 16 homers in 1979.

So, obviously, while Venezuela has produced some great shortstops, including Luis Aparicio and Omar Vizquel, it hasn’t produced a whole lot of power-hitting shortstops.

Cabrera, who made his first All-Star team this year, is hitting .274 and has 88 RBI.  His 24 homers this season are six more than he had in 1,415 major league at-bats from 2007-10.

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.