Rafael Furcal had another setback

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The Marlins signed Rafael Furcal to a one-year, $3.5 million deal over the winter with the idea of using him as their regular second baseman and leadoff hitter, but he has yet to make his season debut due to injury. And now it looks like the wait will be even longer.

Furcal, who was forced to begin the year on the disabled list with a hamstring strain, suffered a groin strain last Friday during his first attempt at a minor league rehab assignment. While the 36-year-old returned to action last night with Double-A Jacksonville, Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that he exited after four innings after reporting renewed groin discomfort.

“He’s super frustrated,” said Suns’ manager Andy Barkett, who has known Furcal for 15 years and was one of his Dominican winter ball teammates. “I’m doing all I can and he’s doing all he can. His body is just not cooperating with him right now.

Furcal went 1-for-2 with a single before exiting. He’s scheduled to be reevaluated today.

The Marlins have relied on multiple players at second base with Furcal on the shelf, including Derek Dietrich, Donovan Solano, Jeff Baker, and Ed Lucas. While they have combined for an underwhelming .214/.325/.311 batting line, they rank first in the National League with 19 runs scored and are tied for fifth with 13 RBI.

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.