Padres promote top prospect Austin Hedges to Double-A

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Corey Brock of MLB.com shares this bit of prospect news:

Austin Hedges, considered the third-best catching prospect in the Minor Leagues according to MLB.com, is on his way to Double-A San Antonio.

The Padres will promote Hedges, 20, from Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore to the Texas League. The move was based not just on merit but because Missions catcher Robert Kral is currently injured.

Hedges played in the 2013 Futures Game earlier this month at New York’s Citi Field. He was batting just .263/.338/.404 with three home runs and 26 RBI over 65 games with High-A Lake Elsinore, but the 20-year-old is an excellent defender and should continue to rise quickly through the Padres’ system even if the bat takes a little while to catch up.

Hedges was a second-round pick in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft out of a California high school.

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.