Tigers activate catcher Alex Avila from the disabled list

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After today’s loss to the Blue Jays, the Tigers activated catcher Alex Avila from the 15-day disabled list and sent fellow backstop Bryan Holaday back down to Triple-A Toledo.

Avila landed on the disabled list earlier this month after he suffered a left forearm contusion when he was hit by a pitch, but he was able to make it back in the minimum 15 days. The 26-year-old batted .242 (8-for-33) with one home run, two doubles, and a 10/2 K/BB ratio over eight rehab games in Triple-A.

Avila seemingly emerged as one of the best young catchers in the game when he batted .295/.389/.506 with 19 home runs and 82 RBI in 141 games in 2011, but he’s hitting just .222 with 14 home runs and a .682 OPS since.

 

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.