Is it time to eat some crow about David Ortiz?

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Ortiz home run.jpgDavid Ortiz continued his recent hot-hitting on Friday night, slugging two mammoth home runs and driving in four runs in a 7-2 win over the Tigers.

The first home run, a three-run shot off the struggling Max Scherzer in the first inning, traveled an estimated distance of 459 feet to right-center field, according to HitTracker, good enough for one of the longest home runs hit in the major leagues this season.

Of course, it wasn’t long ago that most of us were ready to give up on the 34-year-old slugger. After all, he batted just .143 (8-for-56) with one home run and four RBI in April. But after his big night on Friday, Ortiz is hitting .333 (11-for-33) with five home runs and 11 RBI over nine games in May. He enters Saturday’s action with a season-high .213/.283/.483 batting line.

In turn, Ortiz has some words for those who doubted him, via Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald:

“I’m feeling good,” he said. “Swinging the bat – seeing the ball and
hitting it, man. You know? There’s people that know a lot about the
game, they think they got everything figured out. Just tell them that
the season is not over after April. It’s over after October.”

Noted. Ortiz is certainly showing signs of life here, but what I’m most interested to see is whether Red Sox manager Terry Francona will push his DH platoon to the side on Saturday and start Ortiz against the left-hander Dontrelle Willis.

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.