Athletics notes: McPherson, Beane, Desme

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athleticslogo.jpgAccording to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, the Athletics have signed former top prospect Dallas McPherson to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training.



McPherson, 29, failed to make the
Marlins out of spring training last season, then underwent back surgery
in July after signing a minor league contract with the Giants.
McPherson was once a highly-touted prospect in the Angels’
organization, but he hasn’t done much on the major league level,
batting just .245/.298/.458 with 18 home runs and 45 RBI in parts of
four seasons while striking out 34 percent of the time.




Regardless, McPherson has walked
into a pretty good situation in Oakland. He is expected to compete for
a starting job in 2010, as Adam Kennedy and Bobby Crosby are free
agents and prospect Brett Wallace, who was acquired from St. Louis in the Matt Holliday trade, might not be ready for the jump to
the majors.




In other Athletics’ news, general manager Billy Beane was recently interviewed by John Sickels of Minor League Ball.
Beane would like top prospect Chris Carter to find a fit in the
outfield while he hopes Wallace can improve his defense at third base
in anticipation of a promotion to the major leagues. Finally, Beane has
some high praise for Grant Desme, who won the MVP of the Arizona Fall
League
, batting .315/.413/.667 with 11 home runs, 27 RBI and 30 runs
scored in 27 games. Though his strikeout rate is a concern, Beane
likens him to Jayson Werth of the Phillies.

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.