Should MLB credit Manny Ramirez with time served?

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If Manny Ramirez hadn’t been stupid enough to file retirement papers when he learned he was getting slapped with a 100-game PED suspension back in April, he would have been eligible to resume playing in the majors last month.  That’s not to say anyone would have taken him — the Rays almost certainly would have released him, and it’s doubtful anyone would have been quick to pick him up — but eligibility wouldn’t have been an issue.

So, now Manny says he wants to play in the Dominican Republic, serve his 100-game ban and potentially return to the majors.  Those last two things are new, but he was talking back in late April about playing winter ball, and no one from the commissioner’s office stepped up then and shot the idea down.  It’s only now, with training camp opening in four days, that MLB has said Ramirez can’t play for Aguilas Cibaenas.

MLB doesn’t owe Ramirez any favors.  He’s flaunted the rules and got busted twice.  If he’s found cheating again, he’d get a well deserved lifetime ban.

The second suspension, though, isn’t supposed to be a lifetime ban.  Only that’s what it is if MLB decides to enforce it now.  Ramirez wouldn’t be able to play this winter, and he’d have to sit out until mid-July next year.  His career would almost certainly be over at that point.

Which leaves me wondering if there’s some room for compromise here.  Can filing those retirement papers when he wasn’t sure he was done by looked at as just another Manny-being-Manny moment?  How about giving him partial credit for all of the time he’s already missed?  Ban him for the first 20 games of the Dominican Winter League season and the first 20 games of next year, though allow him to play in the minors during that time if he’s able to find some team willing to take him off?  Ramirez will still have paid a fair price, and maybe he’ll still have a chance to go out on a better note.

I’m not saying that’s the way to go.  I’m not feeling particularly charitable to Ramirez right now.  I’m mostly interested in what everyone else thinks.

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.