32-year-old infielder Alex Cintron, who had been playing with the Padres’ Triple-A club, decided to retire Tuesday, according to Tucson broadcaster Tim Hagerty.
Cintron chose to quit even though he was playing quite well. He had two hits in his final game Monday, and he was sporting a .350/.394/.500 line in 60 at-bats for Tucson.
It’s easy to forget now, but the switch-hitting Cintron had 2,056 major league at-bats to his credit. He won the Diamondbacks’ starting shortstop job by hitting an impressive .317/.359/.389 with 13 homers in 448 at-bats in 2003. Technically he wasn’t a rookie at the time — though he had only 82 at-bats between 2001 and 2002, he spent too much time on the major league roster to qualify — or he would have found himself on some Rookie of the Year ballots.
Unfortunately, Cintron never duplicated that success. He played in 154 games for the Diamondbacks in 2004, but he hit .262/.301/.363 and finished with only four homers. He was somewhat better as a utilityman in 2005, but the Diamondbacks traded him to the White Sox for reliever Jeff Bajenaru after that season. He went on to hit .268/.299/.366 with seven homers in 473 at-bats for the White Sox over the next two years.
After the 2007 season, Cinton started bouncing around. He had 133 at-bats with the Orioles in 2008 and 26 with the Nationals in 2009. He didn’t appear in the majors last year, and he opened this season in Mexico before signing a minor league deal with the Padres.
So, it wasn’t a remarkable career, but it was certainly a very good one for a guy who lasted all of the way to the 36th round in the 1997 draft. Cintron twice finished in the top 10 in the NL in triples, and on July 8, 2004, he became the first player in Diamondbacks history to homer from both sides of the plate.
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.
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.