Bobby Valentine is keeping busy

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Many thought that Bobby Valentine’s return from Japan would mean a manager’s job. Washington? Pass.  Cleveland?  Pass. Queens? Pending.  In the meantime, however, it’s good to see that he’s keeping busy:

Bobby Valentine has guided baseball teams to championship titles in faraway
countries, helped professional baseball players gain free agency rights
and won a National League pennant with the New York Mets. Now, the Stamford native will attempt to reform the city’s fire service.

Valentine, the hometown celebrity whose career in professional baseball brought him from manager of two Major League Baseball teams to the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan, will join local fire
officials, attorneys and politicians on a group formed by Mayor Michael Pavia.
The group’s goal, the mayor said, is to improve the city’s fire service
after years of litigation, mistrust and dysfunction between the city
and its six fire departments.

My old man once headed up a similar task force with respect to ambulance services in Flint, Michigan back in the mid 70s. It bought him a bunch of headaches and even a few death threats from the people who didn’t much care to be reformed.  Eventually he said to hell with it.  Here’s hoping Bobby V. has better luck.

Especially considering that I have a vested interest in certain buildings in Stamford, Connecticut not burning down to the ground because of some bureaucratic snafu. No, I don’t work in Stamford, but I’ve got an NBC Sports fanny pack on order, it’s probably in a warehouse there right now and I’d hate to have something happen to it.

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.