O’Connor: Sandy Alderson needs to apologize for steroids

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ESPN New York’s Ian O’Connor thinks Sandy Alderson may be a great GM choice for the Mets, but he thinks he needs to atone for past sins before taking the job:

But when he steps to the microphone as Omar Minaya’s replacement, Alderson should take the time of offer an apology. He should say he’s sorry for being an enabler at a time when baseball desperately needed a whistle-blower and a leader. He should say he’s sorry for allowing the monstrous steroid culture to grow fangs on his watch.

Sandy Alderson was a general manager for 14 years: 1983-1997.  During that time there were a few other general managers running teams with ballplayers who took PEDs. Namely all of them.  Is O’Connor asking for apologies from Pat Gillick? Lou Gorman? Gene Michael? John Schuerholz? Syd Thryft?  I’m guessing not.

Based on his column, of course, O’Connor’s response would be that Alderson deserves more blame than anyone else because he was the A’s GM. In my view, such logic only washes if you believe that steroids were invented by Jose Canseco in Oakland in 1989 and that from that point forward, steroids were a purely Oakland Athletics’ phenomenon. Both of those ideas are nonsense, of course. And I think even O’Connor would agree that PEDs became a baseball-wide problem, not one attributable to a single clubhouse.

But hey, maybe O’Connor has a point here. And maybe it’s a point he truly believes, rather than one that he’s merely throwing out there because it made for a nice angry column during the lull between playoff games.  If that’s the case, I fully expect O’Connor to be at the press conference in which Sandy Alderson is introduced as the Mets’ new GM and to ask Alderson to make the apology he believes is warranted.

Shall we hold our breath?

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.