Nationals activate Ryan Zimmerman, send Anthony Rendon back to minors

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Now that Ryan Zimmerman is ready to come off the disabled list the Nationals are sending 22-year-old Anthony Rendon back to the minors.

Rendon started eight games at third base in place of Zimmerman and got on base at a .367 clip despite showing little power. Because of injuries Rendon played a grand total of just 57 games in the minors before getting his first taste of the majors, but the former No. 6 overall pick looks just about MLB-ready.

The problem is that he’s a third baseman and Zimmerman is signed through 2019. Rendon has also seen a little action at second base, but it’s unclear if the Nationals would trust him defensively as a regular there and they also have a solid enough starter at the position in 26-year-old Danny Espinosa.

But if Zimmerman stays healthy and the Nationals don’t trade Rendon, where does he fit into their plans? Rendon hit .292 with a .454 on-base percentage in 13 games at Double-A before being summoned to fill in for Zimmerman and Espinosa is off to a brutal, .173-hitting start, so maybe the dots aren’t that difficult to connect.

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.