On the heels of manager Tony La Russa saying last week that the Cardinals need to find a big bat to hit behind Albert Pujols, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the team is interested in Miguel Tejada.
Tejada would be an interesting pickup on a few different levels. First
and foremost he’s leading the league with a .355 batting average and
hitting .355/.378/.521 overall, so that would seemingly fit La Russa’s
description of a big bat even if the 35-year-old is highly unlikely to
keep up that type of production.
Guys like Matt Holliday have also been linked to St. Louis recently,
but the Cardinals have received little production from the left side of
the infield and finding a hitter like Tejada who can man shortstop or
third base would allow them to keep their better-hitting outfielders in
the lineup as well.
With that said, Tejada to the Cardinals isn’t quite a perfect fit.
For one thing, Khalil Greene is making his way back from anxiety
problems and should be ready to rejoin the team soon. Plus, Tejada’s
defense at shortstop has declined to the point that he’s somewhere
between “solidly below average for the position” and “terrible.”
If he’d be willing to slide over to third base the Cardinals could
replace the unproductive Joe Thurston-Brian Barden-Tyler Greene platoon
without further weakening their up-the-middle defense, but Tejada has
never played even one inning at a position other than shortstop during
13 seasons in the big leagues and may not want to make the move with
free agency looming.
And last but not least, while the financially strapped Astros would
no doubt like to shed the $8 million or so that Tejada is owed for the
remainder of the season, the team’s management is still clinging to the notion that they can contend and even if that stance changes they may not be willing to help out a division rival.
Who says no-hitters can’t be just as fun when they happen during spring training?
Angels’ right-hander Bud Norris delivered two perfect innings on Friday night, paving the way for an eight-pitcher no-hitter against the Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Jose Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Austin Adams, Drew Gagnon and Justin Anderson each filed a hitless inning of their own, leaving right-hander Abel De Los Santos to close out the ninth inning with just three pitches — and three game-saving plays by the defense.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Angels were facing a bevy of Mariners’ backups, rather than their starting lineup. In fact, Seattle’s lineup featured just two starting players — outfielder Leonys Martin and shortstop Jean Segura — while the majority of their everyday position players took on the Royals in a 4-3 win elsewhere in the Cactus League. The Mariners managed to reach base twice, first on catcher interference in the fourth inning, then on a four-pitch walk in the sixth, spoiling the Angels’ chances of turning their combined no-hitter into a combined perfect game.
Still, whether it’s executed in spring training or the regular season, against an All-Star lineup or one comprised of minor leaguers, a no-hitter is a no-hitter. The team’s eight-pitcher effort marked the first spring training no-no the Angels had completed since 1996, when they took on the Giants in a 15-0 showdown. Unfortunately for the 1996 squad, their regular season ended with a 70-91 record, good for last place in the AL West. Perhaps this no-hitter will prove a better omen for the coming season.
Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.
Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.
Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.