Buehrle definitely had a good draw of umps

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You know, if you were the suspicious type, this may cause your eyebrows to raise a bit:

Some umpires can work their entire careers and never find themselves
behind the plate for a no-hitter. Eric Cooper has been the plate umpire
for three of them, including two by White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle,
who pitched a perfect game Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays . . .

. . . How’s this for strange? Cooper has been behind the plate for
each of Buehrle’s last three shutouts — the perfect game Thursday, the
no-hitter April 18, 2007, at U.S. Cellular Field against the Texas
Rangers and a 6-0 victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 17,
2005, at the Cell. Cooper, 38, also was behind the plate for Boston Red
Sox right-hander Hideo Nomo’s no-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles
on April 6, 2001.

Sadly, there isn’t any suggestion that Buehrle is paying off Cooper or
anything, because that would be the bestest story ever (at least if you
were a writer). If you’re Ozzie Guillen, though, don’t you mess with
your pitching staff to ensure that Buehrle is on the mound the next
time Cooper is behind the plate when his crew’s in town? If, for no
other reason, than to boost your ace’s confidence?

Watch: Shohei Ohtani strikes out his first spring training batter

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Sure, spring training games don’t count toward anything “real,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy Angels’ star pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani mowing down his first big league competitors.

On Saturday, Ohtani took the mound against the Brewers for his first official outing in an Angels uniform. After allowing a leadoff double to Jonathan Villar, the 23-year-old righty settled down and issued a three-pitch strikeout to Nate Orf, his first of the spring.

It wasn’t the cleanest inning for the right-hander: the Brewers plated their first run on a walk, wild pitch and subsequent throwing error by catcher Martin Maldonado. Ohtani didn’t let things unravel further, however, and induced a pop-up for the second out before catching Brett Phillips looking on a called strike three to end the inning.

While the two-way phenom only lasted another two batters (a Keon Broxton dinger finished him off in the second), he’s already started to look like a formidable presence on the mound. Time will tell whether he can deliver at the plate as well — rumor has it he could feature in the Angels’ lineup as soon as Monday.