Bonds gives money to journalists, which makes some queasy

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Barry Bonds’ charity organization, the Barry Bonds Family Foundation, has donated $20,000 to The National Association of Black Journalists.

The donation has stirred a bit of controversy, and it is not sitting well with some members of the NABJ. From the AP:

The gift comes as the former San Francisco Giants slugger prepares for trial on federal charges he lied to a grand jury about steroid use.

Association member Kenneth Cooper says Bonds is a controversial figure and journalists and their organizations should maintain their distance.

Bonds could go on trial in his never-ending perjury case at some point next year, and some members of the NABJ could end up covering the story, so any potential conflict of interest – or just as bad, the appearance of a conflict of interest – is a legitimate concern.

Then again, maybe it’s not that big a deal, as the money will be used to fund an “Entrepreneurial Spirit Award” named after Ray Taliaferro, a long-time Bay Area broadcaster. According to this report, Bonds wanted the award named after Taliaferro “in recognition of the broadcaster’s civic and public contributions to the San Francisco Bay Area.”

So what do you think HBT readers? Is it inappropriate for the NABJ to accept this donation, or is it much ado about nothing? Frankly, given his interactions with journalists over the years, I’m just amazed Bonds would give money to any of them.

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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.