Figuring out the Zack Grienke-to-Milwaukee rumor

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Saturday night saw the birth of a shocking rumor: a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel blogger reports that the Brewers and Royals had agreed to a trade, set to be announced Monday, in which Milwaukee would land Zack Greinke for shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and right-hander Jeremy Jeffress.  Yuniesky Betancourt and cash would also go to Milwaukee.

Soon afterwards an OnMilwaukee.com staff writer followed suit, reporting the same deal without Betancourt’s name and with Brewers prospect Jake Odorizzi joining the other three youngsters in being Kansas City bound.

The big names have been quiet all along.  Ken Rosenthal, Buster Olney, Jon Heyman and the rest have all failed to weigh in on the reports.  The Journal-Sentinel’s primary Brewers writers Tom Haudricourt did work on the rumor and failed to confirm or deny anything from Milwaukee or Kansas City sources.

So that’s where we are as of 3 am.   I figured the first report was bogus and I’m still leaning that way, but that no one has stepped forward to deny the rumor has given it traction.  The Brewers have been mentioned in connection with Greinke, and it does seem like the kind of package Kansas City would want in return.  Escobar is the long-term answer at shortstop they crave, Cain would be the odds-on favorite to start for the team in center field and Jeffress, while risky, has big-time potential out of the pen.  Odorizzi, a potential third starter, would be another nice piece.

But for now, it looks like we won’t find out whether there’s any truth to this until the morning at least.

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.