Meche happy in Kansas City, unlikely to waive no-trade clause

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With the Royals headed for another 90-loss season it makes sense for
them to shop 30-year-old Gil Meche, who’s 4-8 despite a solid 4.14 ERA
in 18 starts and is signed through 2011. However, Meche indicated yesterday that he’s unlikely to waive his no-trade clause if the team attempts to deal him:

I don’t want to go anywhere. I know this is the last year of the
no-trade in my contract, but I would like to be here to win. That’s why
I signed to come here in the first place. When that time comes, then
I’ll answer that question. But I’m not going to address speculation. Do
I want to go somewhere? No. That’s about all I can say.

The five-year, $55 million contract that Meche signed in the winter of
2006 is unique in that he has a full no-trade clause this season before
shifting to partial no-trade rights in 2010 and then zero veto ability
in 2011. He’s making $11 million this season and is owed $12 million
for both 2010 and 2011.

Kansas City handing Meche that much money was criticized at the time
because he had ERAs of 4.59, 5.01, 5.09, and 4.48 in his final four
seasons in Seattle and had never thrown even 190 innings in a season,
but midway through the deal he’s produced 530 innings of a 3.88 ERA and
is on pace for his third straight 200-inning campaign.

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.