Brian Roberts and the art of the two-bagger

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Last night Brian Roberts smacked his 50th double of the year, joining Hall of Famers Stan Musial, Tris Speaker, and Paul Waner as the only players in baseball history with 50-plus doubles in at least three seasons.
Of course, while most fans can cite the significant homer records few people pay much attention to doubles. As a quick primer, here are the career, active, and single-season doubles leaders:

CAREER                     ACTIVE                     SINGLE SEASON
Tris Speaker      792      Ivan Rodriguez    546      Earl Webb         67
Pete Rose         746      Manny Ramirez     527      George Burns      64
Stan Musial       725      Ken Griffey Jr.   518      Joe Medwick       64
Ty Cobb           724      Garret Anderson   511      Hank Greenberg    63
Craig Biggio      668      Todd Helton       506      Paul Waner        62



Roberts is 31 years old and has averaged an impressive 45 doubles per 162 games during his career, leading the league in two-baggers twice and ranking second two other times. However, he’s not particularly close to being among the all-time doubles greats. He ranks just 352nd on the all-time list with 312 career doubles, tied with the immortal trio of Doug DeCinces, Kent Hrbek, and Stuffy McInnis.
Even looking at the doubles leaders through the age of 31, Roberts ranks just 87th, although this time he’s tied with some guy named Babe Ruth. Roberts has been on a torrid doubles pace over the past half-dozen years, with annual totals of 50, 45, 34, 42, 51, and now 50, but he didn’t land an everyday job in the majors until the age of 25 and didn’t have his first big doubles total until 26.
All of which makes it tough to pile up historically great totals, but since Roberts became a regular for the Orioles in 2002 he leads baseball with 294 doubles, followed by Albert Pujols at 292. And despite his relatively late start Roberts is one of just 15 players to have five or more seasons with 40-plus doubles through the age of 31. The only guys with more than five such seasons by his age? Musial, Joe Medwick, and Lou Gehrig with seven and Wade Boggs and Joe Cronin with six.

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.