Chris Carpenter hasn’t ruled out pitching this season

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Chris Carpenter underwent season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome in July and at the time the big question was whether he’d be ready to contribute to the Cardinals next season.

Now it turns out the surgery may not have been “season-ending” after all, because Carpenter has been throwing bullpen sessions recently in attempt to gauge his readiness for 2013 and … well, he’s felt so good that returning this year is suddenly not impossible.

Carpenter threw a 40-pitch bullpen session yesterday, at which point Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch asked if he’d be able to pitch this season and the former Cy Young winner replied: “I don’t know. Let’s see what happens.”

Hummel then told Mike Matheny about Carpenter’s response, to which the manager said: “That’s a heckuva answer. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. It was fun to watch today.”

It’s worth noting that the Cardinals aren’t exactly hurting for rotation depth and in fact just demoted Lance Lynn to the bullpen less than two months after he made the All-Star team as a starter. The odds are obviously stacked against Carpenter making any kind of major impact down the stretch, but then again he’s already made a mockery of the odds with this rapid comeback.

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.