Max Scherzer and the Tigers clear the air

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Last weekend the Tigers took the unusual step of calling out Max Scherzer — however implicitly — as being greedy when they announced that he has rejected the team’s offer of a contract extension. That sort of thing turns fans against a player and can put a player on the defensive.

According to the Detroit Free Press, however, Scherzer and the Tigers had a meeting to clear the air:

“[GM Dave Dombrowski] told me he wanted to make sure he conveyed to fans that he was doing his job and he could see how some things put me in a negative context,” Scherzer said after his final spring-training start today. “That wasn’t his intent, but that’s just how it came across. He apologized for that.”

Scherzer got a big ovation from fans at his last spring training game too. And now that Miguel Cabrera’s massive contract extension has blown Scherzer off the front page, the issue is likely settled.

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.