Orioles sign Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia

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Baseball America reports that the Orioles have signed 25-year-old Henry Urrutia, a Cuban outfielder, to a minor league contract with a $778,500 bonus.

One of the best hitters for average in Cuba, Urrutia batted .397/.461/.597 with12 homers in 305 at-bats for Las Tunas in 2010. However, he did that as a full-time designated hitter and his power production wasn’t especially impressive given the usual numbers compiled by stars in Cuba. That his bonus was less than a million dollars even though he did fall under the new 2012 bonus rules for international players — meaning the $2.9 million-per-team cap didn’t apply — suggests that few teams took him seriously as a potential major leaguer.

BA believes Urrutia will start his U.S. career in Double-A. It’s doubtful we’ll see him in the majors this year, but if he does surprise and starts crushing the ball right away, the Orioles could always give him a look in September.

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.