Chris Young doubles twice on rehab assignment, nears return to Diamondbacks

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Diamondbacks center fielder Chris Young is close to coming off the disabled list after doubling twice in a minor-league rehab game yesterday at Single-A.

It was Young’s second rehab outing and he’s expected to play one more game for Visalia before moving his assignment to Triple-A. From there a return to the Diamondbacks could happen at any time.

Young has been out since April 18 with a partially torn shoulder ligament that came from slamming into the outfield wall making a great catch. In his place Gerardo Parra and rookie A.J. Pollock have split time in center field, leaving Jason Kubel to play every day in left field.

Incidentally, the box score for the Single-A game Young played in yesterday is insane: He went 2-for-5 with three RBIs despite only playing a few innings and his Visalia team allowed 11 runs on 19 hits … and won by 15 runs. Seriously, it was a 26-11 game. Parents, don’t let your kids grow up to be California League pitchers.

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.