5 guys you might not realize are having awesome seasons

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Unless you play fantasy or are a fan of the team these guys are
employed by, you might not be aware that they’re putting up some pretty
sick numbers.

Javy Vazquez: The 7-7 record is deceiving. Javy’s ERA
sits at 2.86, his WHIP is 1.048, and he has struck out 141 batters (3rd
in MLB) in 126.0 innings (also good for a 5.88 K/BB).

David Aardsma: Much of the preseason hype for a Seattle closer was given to Brandon Morrow.
But after he imploded, Aardsma took over, and has coverted 22 of 24
saves, has an ERA of 1.83 and strikes out more than a batter an inning
(53 K in 44.1 IP). Perhaps even more impressive is that he has allowed
runs in only 4 of his 45 outings.

Wandy Rodriguez: 117 strikeouts (Johan Santana=117). 10-6 record (Johan=11-7). 2.72 ERA (Johan=2.92). 1.23 WHIP (Johan=1.19). 125.2 IP (Johan=123.1).

Jermaine Dye: Quietly crushing the ball yet again. 21 homers, 59 RBI, and a .294/.368/.557 line (along with an OPS+ of 135).

Derek Jeter: Remember last year when Jeter was being
written off (career-low .771 OPS, only 11 SB, worst fielding shortstop
of all-time)? Well, the batting average is up to .319, his OPS is at
.847, he has 18 steals, and his 10 homers are one shy of lasy year’s
total (thank you, New Yankee Stadium). He’s also walking more than he
ever has in 10 years (10.6%), with the lowest strikeout rate of his
career (12.7%). And don’t look now, but his UZR is 1.8, second-best on
the Yankees. Maybe he was hurt last year and no one knew?

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.