Cubs likely to wait until mid-summer to trade Matt Garza

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The Cubs have been dangling Matt Garza on the trade market all winter. But they clearly haven’t been blown away by any one offer, and may now put the whole effort to rest for the next couple of months.

A major league executive told FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi this weekend that the Cubs are “more likely” to move Garza at the July 31 trade deadline than before the start of the 2012 regular season.

Garza registered a solid 3.32 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 31 starts last season, striking out 197 batters and issuing only 63 walks across 198 innings of work.

The 28-year-old right-hander will make a $9.5 million salary this year in his second-to-last season of arbitration eligibility. If he gets off to a hot start in 2012, trade interest could be very high come late July.

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.