As John Shipley at the Pioneer Press notes, it’s been a bad few months for Alexi Casilla. I believe that the technical term for his performance at the plate in 2009 is “butt.” Then the Twins signed Jim Thome, who took his uniform number. Then they signed Orlando Hudson who took his job. But at least he was compensated for the number thing:
First Orlando Hudson took his job, then Jim Thome took his number. At least Thome gave him a Rolex. “A very nice watch,” Alexi Casilla assures us . . .
. . . When Thome, a likely hall of famer with 564 career
home runs, was acquired this winter, Casilla surrendered his No. 25 to
the former Twins nemesis — happily, he said. Now Casilla wears No. 12,
the number he wore as he helped lead his team to the Dominican finals
Given where Casila is these days — it’s not inconceivable that he’ll be cut loose by the Twins — you wonder if Thome should have saved his money and just waited things out.
Still, I love the whole shadow economy of uniform numbers. A couple of years ago Morgan Ensberg was turned down when he offered Wilson Betemit $5,000 for number 14 on the Yankees. Giants’ punter Jeff Feagles was the Warren Buffett of this biz, once demanding — and receiving — an outdoor kitchen in his vacation home in Phoenix in exchange for giving up his number 17 to Plaxico Burress. Before that he got a family vacation to Florida from Eli Manning for giving up number 10.
If I was on the Red Sox I’d jump on number 23 now in anticipation of that big Adrian Gonzalez windfall. Joey Gathright and Adam LaRoche shared it last year, so I think it’s available.
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.
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.