Yankees send Rule 5 pick Jamie Hoffmann back to Dodgers … for now

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Back in December the Nationals selected Dodgers minor leaguer Jamie Hoffmann with the first pick in the Rule 5 draft and then sent him to the Yankees in a pre-arranged deal for Brian Bruney.
Hoffmann was thought to be a near-lock for a spot on New York’s bench, but apparently the Yankees decided against keeping him on the 25-man roster all season (per the Rule 5 … well, rules) and sent him back to the Dodgers this afternoon.
Hoffmann had to clear waivers before becoming Los Angeles’ property again, which means no other teams were willing to keep him in the majors all season. However, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News the Yankees may be trying to work out a second deal for Hoffmann outside of the Rule 5 parameters that would allow them to send him to Triple-A.
Feinsand notes “whispers in recent weeks about the Yankees sending either Chad Gaudin or Sergio Mitre to Los Angeles for Hoffmann.” Not a bad deal for the Dodgers, who essentially gave up Hoffmann for nothing by failing to protect him with a 40-man roster spot just a few months ago. Meanwhile, it looks more and more likely that the Yankees’ final bench spot will go to veteran Marcus Thames, who could end up paired with Brett Gardner as a platoon starter against left-handed pitching.

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.