The McCourts go to court

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For those of you who think that tooth-and-nail competition ended with Victorino’s groundout last night, you couldn’t be more wrong. The McCourts will have the first of what are sure to be many offseason hearings in there divorce battle cum power struggle later today, and unlike some of the stuff that will come later, this one involves the Dodgers pretty prominently.

The absolute go-to website for all of this stuff is Josh Fisher’s Dodger Divorce blog, where he has all of the details as to what will be argued and what will be at stake in today’s hearing and beyond.

While I appreciate that some of you may not care to pay attention to this due to the tawdry and salacious nature of some of the proceedings thus far, there is a larger baseball point to all of it: two highly-leveraged people are fighting over ownership of one of baseball’s marquee teams. The outcome of that battle will almost certainly have a profound impact on the Dodgers’ competitive situation going forward, as well as financial implications for baseball as a whole.

Why? Because if Jamie McCourt wins, and convinces the court that she’s a co-owner, the Dodgers will almost certainly have to be sold in the divorce. At the very least, they will have to be leveraged even more than they already are, thereby choking off cash from the team.  What’s more, such a sale would probably occur under distress conditions — there would be a time frame placed on it — thereby lowering the franchise’s market value. Appreciation in franchise market value, by the way, is the single biggest reason anyone buys a baseball team. If that is negatively impacted, owners will start to behave very differently. Probably by cutting payroll and trying to make their teams a better investment from a cashflow perspective as opposed to merely an arbitrage opportunity.  In short, this is a big deal.

So come for the wild accusations, but stay for the gravitas. Either way, we plan to keep you apprised of all of the happenings in L’affaire McCourt.

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.