Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie begins season on disabled list

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“Oft-injured” was used to describe Jed Lowrie for most of his Red Sox career and now his Astros career will be delayed by, you guessed it, an injury.

Lowrie hurt his thumb diving back into second base on March 28, getting upset at Marlins infielder Omar Infante for blocking the bag, and Houston has placed him on the disabled list.

X-rays and an MRI exam both showed no ligament damage, but he hasn’t been able to grip a bat and given his health history the Astros have decided to be cautious with their new starting shortstop.

Lowrie never played more than 88 games for the Red Sox and his latest DL stint means Brian Bixler will make the Opening Day roster.

Mark Melancon, whom the Red Sox acquired in the deal for Lowrie, took the loss in yesterday’s game against the Tigers and then afterward complained about manager Bobby Valentine’s quick hook.

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.