Two members of my family and Manny Acta agree: Indians prospect Drew Pomeranz looks good

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My uncle and cousin spent the past week in Arizona checking out a bunch of spring training games–they didn’t arrive until after Craig had gone home, just to be safe–and sent me a slew of text messages while watching Indians prospect Drew Pomeranz pitch Sunday.

My uncle, a high school baseball coach, and my cousin, a high school pitcher, both said Pomeranz was the most impressive young pitcher they saw, which isn’t surprising for the No. 5 overall pick in last June’s draft.

They raved about his “devastating” fastball-curveball combination–which Jordan Bastian of MLB.com wrote a good article about today–and wondered if the 6-foot-5 left-hander might make it to the majors this season, which is probably a stretch considering he’s 22 years old and hasn’t even officially made his pro debut after signing too late to join a minor-league team last year.

Bastian writes that Pomeranz is likely to begin the season at Single-A and “could be fitted for an Indians uniform as early as 2012.” In addition to various members of my family, Indians manager Manny Acta has also been very impressed with Pomeranz early in camp, telling Bastian: “When you’re that talented you can make it look that easy. He’s got a very nice arm and he’s effortless. That ball just sneaks up on hitters.”

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.