Brewers acquire Juan Francisco from Braves, call up Scooter Gennett

9 Comments

Atlanta designated Juan Francisco for assignment last week and today the Braves traded him to the Brewers for minor leaguer Thomas Keeling. Milwaukee also called up second baseman Scooter Gennett from Triple-A.

Francisco has been exclusively a third baseman in the majors, but given how awful the Brewers’ production has been at first base he should see time there until Corey Hart returns. Part of that lack of first base production, 36-year-old Alex Gonzalez, was released to make room on the roster for Francisco. If nothing else Francisco adds some left-handed power to the mix, but he’s also a career .254 hitter with a lousy .299 on-base percentage and 164/29 K/BB ratio.

Gennett could push the struggling Rickie Weeks at second base, although he’s hardly a top prospect. At age 23 he was hitting .297 with one homer and a .719 OPS in 50 games at Triple-A and Gennett had similar numbers with a .293 batting average, five homers, and a .714 OPS in 133 games at Double-A last season.

Keeling is a non-prospect and the 25-year-old former 18th-round pick has a 6.26 ERA as a pro.

Video: Angels use eight pitchers in spring training no-hitter

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.