Charlie Manuel calls out his hitters

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You know who’s happy today? The Phillies.  Because of the Stanley Cup Final and because of all of the Jim Joyce and Ken Griffey rumpus, not too many people are talking about them today.  About how, you know, they’re in a total flat spin and how they can’t hit anymore and look to be playing uninspired baseball and everything.

Well, I notice of course, because I have a vested interest.  But Charlie Manuel notices too, and yesterday the normal even-keeled Cholly let loose on his players for not hitting the ball:

“It’s definitely not Milt Thompson’s fault. He doesn’t do the
hitting. You’ve got to hold people accountable. I don’t see a young player on our roster. These guys have been
around a long time. If they haven’t learned something from their
hitting by now, and they don’t know some of the things that they do when
they go bad . . . we can talk to them and we can tell them things that
we see. I talk to them all the time, and I hear Milt talk to them . . .

“You’re the one making the outs. That’s how I look at it.
It’s up to you to master your hitting. If you listen and you learn, the
more you play, you should know something about yourself.”

Manuel then said that maybe he’d hire a house peeper to keep an eye on the fellas next time they hit the bricks for a road trip so’s to put the kibosh on all that rumpty the night before go-time.

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.