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Rays sign Rickie Weeks to minor league deal

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The Rays have agreed to a minor league contract with infielder/outfielder Rickie Weeks, per a team announcement on Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training.

Weeks, 34, finished a one-year cycle with the Diamondbacks in 2016. He slashed .239/.327/.450 with nine home runs and a .777 OPS through 205 PA, just enough to push his value to 0.1 fWAR on the year. When he wasn’t pinch-hitting lefties to the tune of .284/.368/.642, he came off the bench for a handful of starts in the outfield corners, where he’s been positioned during the two seasons following his departure from Milwaukee.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the acquisition of both Weeks and fellow infielder/outfielder Logan Morrison doesn’t rule out additional signings before the start of the season. The Rays are rumored to be looking for a platoon partner for Morrison at second base, and while Weeks fits the bill, he hasn’t played the infield since his last season with the Brewers in 2014.

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.