Jerome Williams hadn’t pitched a complete game since 2003 before shutting out the Twins on Tuesday. That was humiliating. What followed Wednesday was even more distressing.
Jered Weaver pitched his first no-hitter as the Angels routed the Twins 9-0. It gave the struggling Halos a three-game sweep at home and dropped the Twins to an MLB-worst 6-18 on the season.
The Twins didn’t even seem to be trying Wednesday. Weaver had good stuff, but it’s doubtful he would have no-hit any other lineup tonight. Manager Ron Gardenhire also phoned it in. Even though his top relievers were all rested, he let the game get out of hand before going to the bullpen in the third. He also allowed the same nine players make all 27 outs in the contest.
Of course, his hands were somewhat tied there, what with the Justin Morneau injury and the move to drop Sean Burroughs from the roster to add catching depth in the form of the league’s worst hitter: Drew Butera. The Twins also have Clete Thomas hacking away in right field instead of the superior Ben Revere, who is back in Triple-A.
Minnesota already appears to be pretty much done for in the AL Central, but while selling is option, tradeable assets are few and far between. Francisco Liriano could have been one, but his awful showing thus far is a big reason the team is 6-18. Denard Span is the only piece that figures to fetch much on the market. But while he might bring back a quality young infielder the Twins could use, the future looks pretty bleak at the moment.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.