Erik Bedard, heated garages, and playing catch with your brother

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Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle has an amusing look at what Erik Bedard did to stay in shape while spending the offseason at home in Ontario, Canada and waiting for what became a minor-league contract from the Astros:

Bedard walked to a plastic pitching mound inside his 70-foot heated garage, waited for his 30-year-old brother Mark to get off work at 4 p.m., and finally started hurling. By the end of Bedard’s garage run, it was minus-20 degrees in Ottawa.

Bedard has earned around $30 million playing baseball and even his minor-league deal with the Astros will pay what is in the non-baseball world a huge amount of money if he makes the team. Given that there’s an argument to be made for Bedard hiring someone–a professional catcher, a pitching coach, whatever–to work with him during the offseason or at least paying his brother enough so that the throwing schedule doesn’t revolve around his work hours.

But that wouldn’t be as fun, probably.

Sean Manaea pitches the first no-hitter of 2018

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Athletics southpaw Sean Manaea delivered his first career no-hitter against the Red Sox in a decisive 3-0 victory on Saturday night. Any thought of a perfect game was banished in the first at-bat, when Mookie Betts drew a leadoff six-pitch walk to open the first inning. From there, Manaea was nearly flawless, holding the Sox to four total baserunners and striking out 10 of 30 batters faced — a career record.

Manaea was gifted a three-run lead thanks to RBI doubles from Jed Lowrie and Stephen Piscotty and Marcus Semien‘s solo shot off of Chris Sale in the fifth inning. While the Red Sox managed to draw two walks off of Manaea, they didn’t come anywhere close to plating a run. Andrew Benintendi tried to break up the no-no in the sixth inning with an infield hit down the first base line, but strayed out of bounds and later saw his hit reversed on a call of batter interference.

Entering the ninth inning, the 26-year-old lefty was sitting at just 95 pitches through eight frames of no-hit ball. He quickly deposed Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts with a groundout and fly out, then walked Benintendi on seven pitches. Any threat the Red Sox might have posed was soon eliminated, however, as Hanley Ramirez ground into a force out to complete the no-hitter.

Manaea is the first A’s pitcher to toss a no-no since Dallas Braden’s perfect game against the Rays eight years ago. The last time the Red Sox were on the losing end of a no-hitter was also against an AL West rival, when the Mariners’ Chris Bosio clinched a 2-0 no-no on April 22, 1993. Manaea’s feat is even more outstanding given how dominant the Red Sox have looked this season: prior to Saturday’s defeat, they boasted a 17-2 record and had yet to be shut out during the regular season.