Their old hitting coach, Greg Walker, just joined the Braves, and Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun Times writes that the White Sox may try to talk Jim Thome into replacing him:
Sox farm-system hitting instructors Jeff Manto or Tim Laker are thought to be the top candidates to replace Greg Walker as hitting coach, but don’t rule out the Sox making a play for a bigger name such as Jim Thome.
Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf loves Thome, 41, whose playing career likely has come to an end after 21 seasons and 604 home runs. The two share the annual habit of meeting for dinner to talk about life and baseball after the season, and a major-league source said Reinsdorf was eager to move this year’s meeting up.
That seems pretty far-fetched to me, but then again the White Sox hired Robin Ventura as manager despite a complete lack of coaching experience. Thome may have a little trouble finding a full-time designated hitter gig this offseason, as that market is always overstocked, but he hit .256 with 15 homers and an .838 OPS in 93 games for the Twins and Indians. He’s definitely still productive enough to continue playing, assuming of course Thome wants to return for a 22nd season at age 41.
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.