Mike Minor on track to join Braves next week

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The Braves have managed to hold things together quite nicely in the early going despite a patchwork rotation, but they will get a major piece back soon.

David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Mike Minor is tentatively scheduled to join the Braves’ rotation next Wednesday against the Marlins or next Friday against the Reds. The southpaw was forced to begin the season on the disabled due after he fell behind in his offseason throwing program following a urinary tract procedure and showed up to camp with shoulder soreness, but he has made it through his three minor league rehab appearances (two starts) without incident. He’s scheduled to make what could be his final rehab start Friday with Double-A Mississippi.

The Braves currently have a rotation of Julio Teheran, Ervin Santana, Alex Wood, Aaron Harang, and David Hale. No word on who will get the boot when Minor is ready, but Hale is the most logical option. The Braves could have another decision to make soon if all goes well in Gavin Floyd’s rehab from Tommy John surgery.

Minor, 26, posted a 3.21 ERA and 181/46 K/BB ratio in 204 2/3 innings across 32 starts last season.

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.