Mariano Rivera probably won’t pitch this season … but he could

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Brian Cashman and everyone with the Yankees has said that Mariano Rivera is out for 2012. Cashman said it as recently as yesterday. But as Joel Sherman reports in the New York Post, at least one person thinks Mo could come back this season: the doctor overseeing his rehab.

Dr. Keith Pyne says that Rivera’s timetable is not up to him, but that give how hard he has worked, how flexible and in shape he was at the time of the surgery and given that it was only a partially torn ACL and not a fully torn ACL, Rivera could very well successfully complete an accelerated timetable in his rehab.

Fun stuff and, yes, if Rivera could come back early it would be a hell of a story.  But it’s also the case that Rafael Soriano has been almost perfect taking his place and the Yankees have a seven game lead in the division, so there’s no need for Rivera to make a superhuman effort to return early.

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.