Why A-Rod has been let off the steroids hook but McGwire has not

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Bob Klapsich explains why A-Rod has been allowed to moonwalk from his steroids scandal while McGwire keeps getting ripped. As an explanation, I find it to be lacking:

First, he appeared to be more honest than McGwire in revealing the
detail of his cheating. While A-Rod may have fudged some details, he at
least provided the name of a complicit family member, as well as the
exact time frame of his cheating.

Wait, A-Rod gets credit for throwing a family member under the bus? Where I come from that makes things worse. And what
about “the exact time frame” of his cheating stuff?  If I remember
correctly, he took all kinds of flak over the claim that he stopped taking PEDs the moment he donned the pinstripes, as well as for other things.  Klapisch goes on:

Second, A-Rod was able to dodge the backlash by falling off the Yankees’ radar while he underwent hip surgery. Unlike McGwire, who will face
daily scrutiny as the Cardinals’ hitting instructor, Rodriguez was
absent for almost two months during his convalescence. By the time he
returned in May, he’d decided to stop talking – or, if he did agree to
be interviewed, kept his comments short, scripted and, most
importantly, safe.

If McGwire “fell off the radar” like that he’d be excoriated for ducking the media. Oh, wait, he’s already being excoriated for that even though he’s given more interviews that A-Rod ever did following his unmasking.  C’mon Bob, what’s really going on?

It doesn’t hurt, either, that he’s now officially a creature of the
postseason. Those massive home runs off Joe Nathan in the ALDS and
Brian Fuentes in the ALCS led to A-Rod’s breakthrough moment in the
World Series – driving in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning of Game
4 against Brad Lidge.

Ah, there we are.  All it takes to atone for the sin of taking steroids is to hit “massive home runs.” Nope, I see no cognitive dissonance there at all.

Look, I’m not ripping Klapisch here because, unless I’m mistaken, he’s merely explaining why, in the minds of the public, A-Rod is off the hook now, not arguing that he deserves to be off or McGwire deserves to be on or both.  But it’s pretty clear that McGwire is being held to a different standard here, and those who will pass judgment on him are going to do their damnedest to ensure that he cannot win.

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.