Dirk Hayhurst had a pretty short stay in Italy

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Dirk Hayhurst, friend of the blog and author of “The Bullpen Gospels”and the recently released (and most excellent) “Out of my League,” was supposed to play for Nettuno of the Serie A1 in Italy this year. He signed back in January was going to be their Opening Day starter, but the plans have changed.

In a series of Tweets yesterday, Hayhurst revealed that he’s coming back home:

I’m back in the states. I regret I had to leave Italy for personal & professional reasons that I cannot fully disclose at this time … I’d also like to say I’m very sorry to leave so shortly after arriving, that it was not personal and I regret it happened the way it did.

Somewhat mysterious, but reading between the lines of several of his tweets, the suggestion is that he got a better offer back home.  Whether that’s baseball or writing/media related is unclear.

The sucky part: also reading the tweets, you get the sense that a lot of Italian people are really angry at him and have said stuff about his wife and all of that.  I guess that goes with the territory, but some advice to Dirk: don’t engage them. Simply say: it’s business, not personal.  That always goes over well.

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.