Cubs prospect Kris Bryant getting MRI on left big toe

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Cubs third base prospect Kris Bryant made an early exit from a game Saturday at Triple-A Iowa, leading to speculation on blogs and Twitter that he might be on the way to the majors. But that’s not happening.

CSNChicago.com’s Patrick Mooney reports that Bryant’s departure was because of an injury to his left big toe — something that has been lingering since the 22-year-old budding superstar fouled a ball off his foot early last week. X-rays taken Saturday at a local hospital in Des Moines came up negative, so Bryant is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Sunday.

“He’s been dealing with it himself for the last couple of nights and sucking it up because he’s a freaking gamer,” Iowa manager Marty Pevey told reporters.

Bryant is batting .333/.440/.678 with 40 home runs and 103 RBI in 124 games this season between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. He is not expected to reach the major league level until sometime in 2015.

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.