Clay Buchholz denies using sunscreen in Toronto last week

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Hayhurst and Morris accuse, Passan does some background reporting which, indirectly anyway, bolster the accusations. Clay Buchholz tells WEEI, however, that he did not have sunscreen on his arm last week when he faced the Jays:

“I’ve used it in the past, but that wasn’t on my arm at any time this season,” Buchholz said of the sunblock product. “Day games, you put sunscreen on. That’s what you do, you put sunscreen on.”

Not in a dome. At night.

It’s almost beside the point now. The conversation seems to have moved on from “was Buchholz doctoring the ball?” to a more general “lots of guys doctor the ball this way. Do we really care?” As evidenced by this Peter Gammons tweet this morning suggesting that hitters don’t care either. In fact, they may prefer that pitchers do use a sunscreen-rosin mix:

 

Seems like it’s a more sane direction to head with this conversation — what do we think about the sunscreen issue in general — as individual accusations tend to focus us on one, understandably defensive tree while missing the entire forest.

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.