Kendrys Morales cleared “to begin running on his own power”

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After visiting with a specialist in Colorado last week Kendrys Morales has been cleared “to begin running on his own power,” according to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com.

Morales hasn’t played since breaking his ankle in May of 2010, suffering multiple setbacks along the way after initially hoping to be ready for Opening Day of last season. He eventually underwent a second surgery, but the Angels were confident enough in his odds of being healthy this year that they tendered him a contract.

Gonzalez reports that there’s still no timetable for his return to baseball activities, but Morales has been running on an unweighted treadmill and hitting off a tee. A healthy Morales would add to the Angels’ logjam at first base, designated hitter, and the outfield corners, but the stockpile of capable hitters should also allow them to be very cautious with his recovery timetable. Not that they have much choice at this point.

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.