Cards, Holliday reportedly "closing in on a deal"

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Thumbnail image for matt holliday cardinals.jpgYesterday I said “Holliday signs with St. Louis in the next 48 hours, right?” Fine, make it next week, but the end game approacheth

Last night Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reported
that the Cardinals and Matt Holliday are “working toward an agreement
that multiple sources described as gaining momentum.” There is no
indication that the deal they’re working on is based on any offer other
than the original Cardinals offer from several weeks ago. There is no
suggestion of other teams talking to the Holliday camp.

Indeed, assuming there are substantive talks finally happening between Holliday and the Cards, yesterday’s stuff about there being other teams involved makes perfect sense: Boras needs to be able to tell
the Cardinals that there are other teams involved in order to get a bit of leverage, and needs a couple
of reports he can hold up in an effort to support the assertion.  So
what happens? Someone floats the Orioles story to Ringolsby so Boras can claim that Baltimore is interested. Someone floats the “other teams” thing to Heyman
so Boras can point to more. The funny part? I suspect that the quick
debunking of the Orioles report yesterday actually helped move these
negotiations along, in that it rendered the “other teams” gambit
transparent and forced Boras to stop playing and get down to brass tacks.

Ultimately, Holliday is going to get a big deal out of the Cardinals,
maybe as early as today. I suspect, however, that the deal is going to
hew pretty closely to the last offer the Cardinals made him, and that
there never really was any serious interest from other teams.

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.