Red Sox to interview Mackanin, Sveum for managing gig

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According to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, the Red Sox have identified the first two candidates who could potentially fill the team’s opening at manager: Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin and Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum.

Both men will interview within the next week.

Mackanin, 60, has managed nine different minor league teams and served as an interim manager for both the Pirates and Reds. The former second baseman is widely respected around the sport for his charisma and baseball knowledge.

Sveum, 47, was Boston’s third base coach in 2004 and 2005. Like Mackanin, he also managed in the minor leagues and has served as an interim skipper in the bigs. Sveum has been on the Brewers’ coaching staff since 2006.

ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes published a list of 15 candidates for the Red Sox job last week. The club won’t hold that many interviews, but the process to find Terry Francona’s replacement could take a little while.

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.