There are a bunch of reasons Theo Epstein wouldn’t work for the Cubs, but let’s not let that stop our speculation

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I want the Cubs to hire their new GM quickly. Why? To spare us from speculation pieces with passages like this one from Olney’s column this morning:

And here’s another big name to keep in mind: Theo Epstein, the general manager of the Red Sox … Keep in mind that Epstein has carved out a strong position under Red Sox owners Henry and Tom Werner, and friends say he has a deep loyalty to the Boston organization — and keep in mind that Boston is his hometown, and that Epstein is in the middle of his current contract … There’s no telling how Henry would react, or how Ricketts would handle that situation, or what Epstein would want, until those conversations take place.

So there’s no suggestion that the Cubs are interested in Epstein, no suggestion that Epstein wants to go anywhere and he’s locked up for several more years?  Well hell, you may as well start clearing out a new office for him already.

Theo Epstein and Brian Cashman are great GMs who make a load of money, have near-infinite resources at their disposal and, time after time, say they’re not interested in going anyplace else.  In light of that, it seems like we should demand more than “[Epstein or Cashman] would be a good fit” stories.  Of course they’d be good fits. They’d be good fits anyplace.  But it strikes me that there’s gotta be some there there before we go there, ya know?

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.