Daniel Murphy to play second base during winter ball

2 Comments

Luis Castillo hasn’t started a game in 18 days as the Mets give 20-year-old rookie Ruben Tejada a long look at second base and Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports that they’re also giving Daniel Murphy a crash course on the middle infield with an eye toward him playing second base during winter ball.
Murphy was in line to be the Opening Day first baseman this season before a knee injury ruined those plans. After getting healthy he headed to Triple-A and saw some action at second base because Ike Davis had first base locked down, but that also proved short-lived when a takeout slide knocked him out for the season with an injury to the same knee.
Rubin reports that Murphy is currently getting instructional league reps at second base and will continue to play the position in the Dominican Republic this winter. Whether or not his playing there regularly in the majors is a realistic option remains unclear. He’s played a grand total of 19 games there as a pro, all in the minors, and wasn’t exactly a standout defender at first base or left field.
At this point it seems pretty obvious that the Mets will do everything possible to rid themselves of Castillo during the offseason, even if it means eating the majority of his remaining contract. Tejada has shown very little offensively in the majors or minors, so seeing if Murphy can become a reasonable backup plan makes sense. I just can’t imagine “Daniel Murphy, second baseman” working out particularly well.

Sean Manaea pitches the first no-hitter of 2018

Getty Images
10 Comments

Athletics southpaw Sean Manaea delivered his first career no-hitter against the Red Sox in a decisive 3-0 victory on Saturday night. Any thought of a perfect game was banished in the first at-bat, when Mookie Betts drew a leadoff six-pitch walk to open the first inning. From there, Manaea was nearly flawless, holding the Sox to four total baserunners and striking out 10 of 30 batters faced — a career record.

Manaea was gifted a three-run lead thanks to RBI doubles from Jed Lowrie and Stephen Piscotty and Marcus Semien‘s solo shot off of Chris Sale in the fifth inning. While the Red Sox managed to draw two walks off of Manaea, they didn’t come anywhere close to plating a run. Andrew Benintendi tried to break up the no-no in the sixth inning with an infield hit down the first base line, but strayed out of bounds and later saw his hit reversed on a call of batter interference.

Entering the ninth inning, the 26-year-old lefty was sitting at just 95 pitches through eight frames of no-hit ball. He quickly deposed Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts with a groundout and fly out, then walked Benintendi on seven pitches. Any threat the Red Sox might have posed was soon eliminated, however, as Hanley Ramirez ground into a force out to complete the no-hitter.

Manaea is the first A’s pitcher to toss a no-no since Dallas Braden’s perfect game against the Rays eight years ago. The last time the Red Sox were on the losing end of a no-hitter was also against an AL West rival, when the Mariners’ Chris Bosio clinched a 2-0 no-no on April 22, 1993. Manaea’s feat is even more outstanding given how dominant the Red Sox have looked this season: prior to Saturday’s defeat, they boasted a 17-2 record and had yet to be shut out during the regular season.