Don Mattingly goofs again while managing the Dodgers

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For a guy who is supposedly Joe Torre’s heir apparent, Don Mattingly hasn’t exactly distinguished himself the couple of times he’s had the chance to manage.  You’ll recall that the Dodgers batted out of order the last time Mattingly was in charge. He blundered again last night.

Both Joe Torre and bench coach Bob Schaefer were ejected following a series of plunkings, and that put Donnie Baseball at the helm. Mattingly came out to talk to his closer Jonathan Broxton. After the chat, he left the mound to walk back to the dugout but then turned around to say something more, treading on the mound a second time.  Bruce Bochy realized this was, technically speaking, a second mound visit, and it required that Broxton be removed from the game. You can see it all go down here, complete with Vin Scully voice-over.

That meant the recently ineffective George Sherrill had to come in.  Sherill promptly gave up a two-run double to Andres Torres, which
made it 6-5 Giants. They ended up taking it 7-5.

Is the two-visit rule a dumb rule? Maybe when it’s applied in the case of a simple about-face like Mattingly did (the rationale for the rule is clearly to speed the game along, and Mattingly’s second “visit” lasted mere seconds). But it’s not something guys get caught up on very often. Bochy certainly knew the rule. According to the game story the Dodgers players did too, because they were telling Mattingly to stop before he stepped foot back on the mound.  It’s really something Mattingly should have known.

Maybe this has no bearing whatsoever on what kind of a manager Don Mattingly will be some day, but when you don’t have a track record of managing to fall back on, this kind of stuff is going to stick out in everyone’s mind when it comes time to make the decision of who replaces Joe Torre.

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.