Shelby Miller pulled from start due to back tightness

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The Cardinals lost both Jaime Garcia and Michael Wacha to shoulder injuries on Sunday. Now they may be down a third starting pitcher in two days.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that right-hander Shelby Miller was lifted from his start Tuesday night at Coors Field because of tightness in his back. Miller complained of a hip stinger after a rough start last Thursday against the Phillies and he looked stiff on the mound throughout his 2 2/3 innings on Tuesday versus the Rockies.

Miller surrendered three earned runs on six hits and five walks Tuesday before exiting and the 23-year-old now has a 3.75 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 93 2/3 total innings this season. St. Louis is calling up 2013 first-round pick Marco Gonzales for his major league debut Wednesday and now there’s a little more pressure on the kid to perform. Joe Kelly is still at least a week away from returning from a severe left hamstring strain.

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.