Braves sign Donnie Murphy to a minor league deal

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The Braves have signed veteran infielder Donnie Murphy to a minor league deal, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. He’ll report to Triple-A Gwinnett.

Murphy, 31, started the season with the Cubs but the Rangers selected him off of waivers near the end of spring training. The Rangers released him on July 9, and the Reds picked him up on a minor league deal on the 18th. Murphy opted out of that deal, allowing the Braves to sign him as a free agent.

A veteran of nine seasons, Murphy struggled in 128 major league at-bats with the Rangers this season, slashing¬†.196/.268/.330 with four home runs and 14 RBI. In a handful of at-bats at Triple-A, both with the Rangers and the Reds, Murphy’s numbers weren’t anything to write home about.

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.