Greinke’s arm, bat power the Brewers past the Nats

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Did you like that headline? Sounded just like a real newspaper article, huh? Never had one day of J-school!

Anyway, Zack Greinke, some may recall, was a pretty good prospect as a position player back in high school. He swung a nice bat and, indeed, many think he could have gone pretty far a hitter.

That was a long time ago, of course, but he got some wood on a ball today, hitting the go-ahead home run in the fifth inning of the Brewers-Nats game.  Oh, and since they pay him to pitch he did a little of that too, striking out ten dudes in seven innings of work.

This was the Brewers’ 13th win in the past 16 games.  Or their 27th in their last 50.  Or their 104th in their last 212th.  Remember, I didn’t go to J-school, so I never learned how to properly construct those littler sports reportery-sounding statistical blurbs.

The point stands, however: the Brewers are hot. And even if that four-team race so many of us predicted in the NL Central this year doesn’t materialize, we may very well have the makings of a pretty nice two or three team race soon.

Note: I am aware that the photo is blurry. Just as I’m pretending to be a real journalist for the purposes of this post, I think the AP photographer was pretending to be an artist. I kinda like it when they do that.

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.