Matt Harvey to appear nude in ESPN the Magazine

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ESPN the Magazine’s answer to the SI Swimsuit issue is its annual “Body Issue.”  Which is at least more honest than the Swimsuit Issue is in its intentions of giving you nude pictures of athletes. It’s not pretending to be something it isn’t. Here’s Jose Bautista from it last year. True to life but for the uniform and the complaining about the call on the imaginary pitch he’s swinging at.

They really do try to please everyone with this, giving us more or less tasteful nude men, women and athletes of all different sports. At least the good-looking ones. I don’t think John Daly is making this bad boy, but within the realm of the fit athletes, they do give a pretty fair representation of the sporting world.

This year’s baseball entrant: Matt Harvey. Who already has a sexy curveball. Guess we’ll see if there’s anything else sexy about him when the issue hits the stands next month.

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.