Bill Mueller is getting at least one Hall of Fame vote

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I kinda liked Bill Mueller as a player. Got on base at a nice clip. Won a batting title. Was part of the 2004 Red Sox World Series team and hit well in the series itself. Maybe the numbers say differently but I want to remember him as playing a good third base. To the extent anyone ever thought to interview him, he seemed like a nice thoughtful chap.

And now, courtesy of Pedro Gomez of ESPN, he’s getting at least one Hall of Fame vote.

Gomez has taken a bunch of flak in the past day or two since that article went up.  To his credit he’s defended his vote on Twitter, calling it a “favored son vote,” and saying he gave it to Mueller to honor “what he represented.”

To his credit, but let’s not pretend that the defense has any merit. While I don’t think such token votes are a crime against nature — at least as long as no worthy candidate is being left off a ballot, which in Gomez’ case no one is — but that kind of thing bugs the living hell out of me.  We’re lectured by the voters constantly about how unpleasant a job it is filling out a Hall of Fame ballot and being told that we simply can’t understand how hard it is to make such decisions, and then someone uses their ballot as if it were for the homecoming king competition.

UPDATE:  I’m reminded that Gomez is also the guy who, three years ago, gave Jay Bell a courtesy vote. Oy.

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.