The Red Sox are expected to deal Jon Lester and the Pirates are a “dark horse”

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Jon Lester’s name has been out there for a long time, but today there seems to be a consensus forming that the Red Sox will absolutely trade Jon Lester before Thursday’s trade deadline. Yahoo’s Jeff Passan says “sentiment among competing executives is unanimous” that the Red Sox will deal him. Many other reporters are echoing that sentiment.

There are a ton of teams who could use Lester, but the Pirates are being mentioned as a “dark horse.” Passan and Tim Brown of Yahoo note that the Pirates could use an ace as much as anyone — they’re in a 3-4 team dogfight for the NL Central — but that they have a deep farm system and that prospect outfielder Josh Bell is “at the center” of talks.

If that doesn’t work the Dodgers, Brewers, Blue Jays and Orioles are candidates. While the latter teams are in the AL East with the Sox, Boston could probably deal with that and could probably safely assume Lester would test the free agent market following the season thereby not being a pain to his old mates several times a year if dealt to Baltimore or Toronto.

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.