Bryce Harper back in Monday’s lineup after sitting out with sore knee

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Bryce Harper sat out Saturday and Sunday due to lingering soreness in his left knee caused by his collision with the right field fence at Dodger Stadium last Monday, but Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that he’s back in the starting lineup for tonight’s series opener against the Giants.

Harper was all banged up after the collision, as he needed stitches in his chin and dealt with nausea, as well as soreness in his knee, shoulder, and rib cage. However, the 20-year-old outfielder was able to return to action as a pinch-hitter last Wednesday. He was in the lineup for back-to-back days on Thursday and Friday before sitting out the rest of the weekend.

Harper is batting .297/.393/.617 with 11 home runs, 22 RBI and a 1.011 OPS in 39 games this season. The second-place Nationals are hoping he’s back in the lineup to stay.

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.