Angels in the market for a first baseman following Kendry Morales' surgery

2 Comments

Earlier this week the Angels were said to be holding out at least some hope of Kendry Morales playing again this season, but he underwent surgery yesterday to repair the broken ankle suffering while celebrating a walk-off homer and afterward indications were that he’s all but certain to miss the rest of the year.
Now that the White Sox are admitted sellers, it’ll be interesting to see if the Angels are once again linked to Paul Konerko. Mike Napoli, Robb Quinlan, and Michael Ryan have been splitting starts at first base in Morales’ absence, but once Jeff Mathis returns from the disabled list Napoli will likely be freed up to spend most of his time at first base.
Napoli had never played an inning at first base in the majors prior to Morales’ injury last month, but his shaky defense behind the plate has always kept him from getting more action at catcher and the 28-year-old is a career .257/.354/.493 hitter with an average of 30 homers per 500 at-bats. Napoli has a career OPS of .846. By comparison, Konerko’s career OPS is .848, and he’s six years older and would cost multiple prospects.
“If [general manager] Tony [Reagins] finds something to improve the team, he’ll act on it,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “If Mike [Napoli] is playing well at first, that will add depth and make us better. Right now, in talking to Tony, nothing is imminent. But I don’t think Tony would put anything on hold if it’s the right move for us.” Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times speculates that the Angels could interested in Adam LaRoche, Lance Berkman, Ty Wigginton, Russell Branyan, and Xavier Nady in addition to Konerko.

Video: Angels use eight pitchers in spring training no-hitter

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.