NBC SportsTalk: Brian Cashman’s irresponsible PED comments

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Joe Sheehan and I joined Erik Kuselias on SportsTalk last night and one of the segments was about Brian Cashman’s lack of surprise over Bartolo Colon and Melky Cabrera’s positive PED tests.  Which is fine as far as it goes. It may be a rare bit of candor from an executive on the topic of PEDs.

But Erik, Joe and I all agree that it’s unseemly and, in a lot of ways, cynical for a guy like Cashman to say such things.  My biggest beef: pointing to the performance spikes these guys had is misleading, because Cashman knows as well as anyone that there have been way more Guillermo Motas and Marlon Byrds caught taking banned things out there — dudes trying to hang on or get over the hump — than there have been positive statistical outliers caught.  Indeed, we have all manner of fluke seasons in baseball history that have nothing to do with PEDs. Melky and Bartolo may have been riding dirty, but let’s not make every guy who has a flukish year a suspect.

And yeah, I dopped a Norm Cash reference. Stopped the conversation cold.

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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.