Padres lose hot-hitting rookie catcher Yasmani Grandal to oblique injury

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Rookie catcher Yasmani Grandal has provided a huge spark for the Padres since being called up on June 2, hitting .312 with five homers and a .947 OPS in 24 games, but now he’ll miss at least two weeks with a strained oblique muscle.

He’ll be eligible to return from the disabled list in the middle of the month, but oblique injuries have a tendency to linger. Normally the Padres would probably recall Nick Hundley from Triple-A to replace Grandal, as he was the starting catcher to begin the season, but because he’s on the disabled list with a hamstring injury John Baker and Eddy Rodriguez will split the action.

It’s only 24 games, of course, but Grandal’s production is pretty amazing for a rookie catcher calling pitcher-friendly Petco Park home. In fact, since the Padres moved into Petco Park in 2004 the only hitters to play at least 20 games and post a higher OPS than Grandal’s current mark are Milton Bradley in 2007, Scott Hairston in 2007, Russell Branyan in 2006, and Adrian Gonzalez in 2009.

Grandal came to the Padres from the Reds along with Yonder Alonso, Edinson Volquez, and Brad Boxberger for Mat Latos in December. Looks like a helluva trade for San Diego at this point.

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.