It looks like Chone Figgins is about to start spending a lot more time on the bench.
The Mariners announced after Wednesday’s 2-0 loss to the Mariners that they’re promoting 2009 third-round pick Kyle Seager to the majors. The University of North Carolina product had been on an absolute tear in his two weeks in Triple-A, hitting .455/.500/.673 in 55 at-bats.
Before that, Seager hit .312/.381/.459 in Double-A to begin the season. He came in at .345/.419/.503 last year, but that was at High Desert in the California League, one of the five best offensive environments in the minors. As a result, Seager wasn’t taken very seriously as a top prospect entering the season. He’s earned his chance by keeping it going at higher levels, though.
Seager was primarily a second baseman in the minors, and the Mariners left him there in Double-A this year even though they had their No. 1 propsect, Dustin Ackley, ready to take over at that position in the majors. Recently, Seager had been playing a lot more third base, and he figures to see most of his starts there in the majors. It’s possible he may yet end up at second base if the Mariners decide Ackley would be better off in the outfield.
Figgins becomes the odd man out. He’s hitting just .183/.231/.244 in the second year of a four-year, $36 million contract. The Mariners only hope of moving him is to take another bad contract in return, and those kinds of deals are usually easier to pull off over the winter than during the season.
Getting dropped to make room for Seager on the roster was catcher Jose Yepez.
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.