Red Sox's 'run prevention' strategy takes another hit with Marco Scutaro out

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Boston’s offseason moves to build the team more around “run prevention” are being mocked because the Red Sox have allowed the most runs in the league, but injuries to Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury certainly have helped and now Marco Scutaro is sidelined with a sore elbow.
Scutaro sat out last night’s game with “tennis elbow” that manager Terry Francona said “has actually been bothering him for a while.” The injury is to Scutaro’s left, non-throwing elbow, but he’s still expected to miss several more games after receiving a cortisone shot to dull the pain.
“We know it’s been bothering him when he’s been swinging the bat,” Francona said. “He really wanted to play through it. He’s done a nice job. We talked about it last week a little bit and the more we talked it made sense to do that. He’s going to be just fine.”
Scutaro has basically matched his career averages by hitting .267 with a .359 on-base percentage and .342 slugging percentage, but is just 12-for-54 (.222) with one extra-base hit over the past two weeks and has also committed multiple errors defensively during that time. General manager Theo Epstein revealed yesterday that Scutaro has had trouble closing his glove around balls because of the elbow injury.
Bill Hall started at shortstop in Scutaro’s place last night, with Darnell McDonald in center field and Jeremy Hermida in left field. That’s quite a different story than trotting out Scutaro, Cameron, and Ellsbury in the same spots, so while Boston’s pitching and defense have been a mess so far it’s tough to really draw conclusions about the offseason strategy until the actual planned defense has played together for a while.

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.