Brett Lawrie needs to play a little smarter

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The hustle is great, but Brett Lawrie’s tendency to play baseball like a bull in a china shop has hurt the Jays from time to time. Of course, the incident that led to last month’s four-game suspension was the most notable occasion. Saturday’s showing was none too impressive, though.

With two outs in the eighth inning and the Blue Jays down to the Red Sox by two runs, Lawrie was thrown out stealing third base, sending the game to the ninth.

And that’s the kind of play that just can’t happen. It’s a situation in which the runner has to be 100 percent sure he’ll make it if he goes. Lawrie must have seen third baseman Kevin Youkilis pulled over towards shortstop with the left-handed-hitting David Cooper up and figured the Red Sox might not even try the throw. Throw they did, though, and they were able to get Lawrie even though Youkilis fell over trying to make the play.

Lawrie is a terrific talent and is one of the most entertaining players to watch in the league today. He’s also a cocky kid with plenty of growing up left to do. Blue Jays fans better hope that wisdom comes with experience because he’s going to need it to reach his potential.

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.