Bobby Valentine may still be a candidate for the Marlins' gig

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We haven’t gotten any official, on-the-record word from anyone about what’s going on with the Marlins’ manager hunt, so we may as well fight the unconfirmed “Bobby V. is out” fire with some contradictory fire from the Miami Herald:

On Sunday, a major-league source told The Miami Herald that Bobby
Valentine, who was believed to be the front-runner for the job that
opened when Fredi Gonzalez was fired last week, was no longer a
candidate. Other local and national media outlets reported the same
information, and baseball commissioner Bud Selig was notified of that
decision.

On Monday, though, another big-league source said not
to count out Valentine just yet.

“Everybody’s still a
candidate,” including Valentine, the source said.

Asked on
Monday if the Marlins had told him he was no longer being considered,
Valentine text-messaged a one-word reply: “No.”

This has all the stink of an internal power struggle, not a falling out between Valentine and the team. If it was the latter, both Valentine and the Marlins would have had their spin out by now, with Bobby V. surrogates talking about mixed signals from the team and team surrogates talking about Valentine being a prima donna or whatever.

We have none of that. We do have someone leaking to the Miami reporter that they’re still considering Bobby and someone else leaking to Jon Heyman — who makes his home in Miami in the winter — that the team has moved on to other candidates.

It’s all speculation on my part, if I had to guess, the Valentine-loving Loria or someone close to him is talking to the Miami Herald and someone closer to baseball operations is talking to Heyman, each side trying to create their own reality with the spin.

Which is great fun for all of us who aren’t Marlins fans.

(thanks to Old Gator for the heads up)

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.