The guy whose team wins the pennant always manages that league’s All-Star team the following summer. Tony La Russa is that guy in the NL, but he’ll be playing shuffleboard or something next July. So who gets the gig? Rick Hummel writes about that over at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today.
Could be La Russa. That’s what Bud Selig, reached for comment on the matter, allowed. It wasn’t some sort of proclamation — Selig doesn’t do that — it was more of a “boy, that would be nice to see,” kind of thing which makes it clear that Selig wouldn’t stand in the way if La Russa wanted to do it.
If he doesn’t want to do it, tradition, such as it is, holds that when the All-Star eligible manager is not active or in the same league the following year, the next-place team in the league from the previous season gets the call. That would be Ron Roenicke of the Brewers in this instance. Hummel notes one exception: Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh, who retired for health reasons after the Pirates won the World Series in 1971, came back and managed the NL in the 1972 All-Star Game.
It’s a total hunch, but I get the sense that La Russa wouldn’t do that. He wants a substantive job in baseball someplace. If he got one, he strikes me as the type who would take it seriously and immerse himself in it to the point where he wouldn’t want all of the hubub and distraction of managing the All-Stars. At the same time, if he doesn’t get a job, you figure he’d feel like the All-Star job was a gold watch of a gig and that he might feel self-conscious or something. La Russa is a lot of things, but an attention whore isn’t one of them and he may feel uncomfortable doing it.
Oh well. It’s probably no big deal. I mean, it’s not like the outcome of the All-Star Game matters or anything. It’s not like it might give the weakest team to make the playoffs home field advantage in the World Series and, perhaps, help determine baseball’s championship.
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.