Johan Santana's knee does not hurt

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Former Mets’ pitching coach was on the radio yesterday, speculating
that Johan Santana’s struggles could be a result of knee pain. This was news to Johan Santana:

“How does he know that my knee hurts?” Santana rhetorically asked.
“That’s the question that I have. You guys tell me how the heck did he
find that out….Not even the trainer knows. Not even me. I didn’t know
my knee hurts. Just put it that way.

“We got along pretty good,” Santana continued about his relationship
with Peterson, “but the reality is he’s not here. I’m the one who feels
my body better than anybody, and my knee doesn’t hurt. I don’t know
where he got that one from. I’m being honest and realistic: My knee is
the last issue here. We took care of that last year (with Oct.1 surgery
to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee), and it has nothing to do
with what’s going on right now.”

Santana has always been a straight shooter, so there’s no reason not to
believe him. Sometimes guys get shelled, even the best of them. No one
thought CC Sabathia was hurt when his ERA was over a million last
spring, so why is everyone so unwilling to believe that Santana can
just pitch poorly from time to time? It happens.

But I am taken by Santana’s comment that “I’m the one who feels my
body better than anybody.” In addition to being a straight shooter, he
has also always been a class act, so I’m surprised to see him
disparaging Mrs. Santana like this.

Video: Angels use eight pitchers in spring training no-hitter

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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.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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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.