Mariano Rivera, seemingly leaning toward retirement, may reveal post-2012 plans at midseason

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Last month Mariano Rivera was coy about his future beyond this season, saying he’d already come to a decision but wasn’t going to share it publicly.

That led to some speculation that he plans to retire and Rivera’s comments to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post today would seemingly strengthen those beliefs.

Asked when he’ll reveal the decision, Rivera said:

I think maybe it will be before the All-Star break. I just want to be sure. I want to make sure whatever I decide, it will be the right decision. I don’t want to tell you, “OK, I’m going to retire,” and then I don’t do it. To me, that’s not right. Whatever decision I make, I continue or I don’t continue, that is a decision I want to stick with. As you get older, you have your priorities and you just go and do it.

Obviously a 42-year-old pitcher saying he plans to play another season is newsworthy, but if he plans to simply keep playing the need for a big buildup followed by an announcement doesn’t really seem necessary any more than it would have when he was 39 or 40 or 41.

Rivera also indicated that he likes the idea of making an announcement with enough time to say goodbye at each ballpark because “it would be nice that you tell the fans, so every stadium you go to, the fans will be there to show their appreciation and you appreciate the fans.”

I’d selfishly like to see Rivera continue pitching until he’s no longer one of the most dominant relievers in baseball and he’s shown absolutely no signs of slowing down yet, but he sure sounds like someone 162 games from retirement.

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.