Scary news coming from the Rangers, as Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that reliever Tanner Scheppers was unavailable for last night’s game against the Indians after the 6-foot-4 right-hander was “sucker punched” by a group of males while walking in downtown Cleveland on Thursday night.
Scheppers said the incident occurred about two blocks from the team hotel as he was going to get something to eat. Nothing was taken from him and he has not filed a police report, though the Cleveland police are aware of the situation.
“One of those freak things,” Scheppers said. “I was just getting food and was blindsided. … It’s something you don’t want to be talking about. You want to be talking about baseball things.”
Scheppers suffered a laceration above his eye and a couple of cuts, but he passed all concussion tests. He is available for tonight’s game.
Scheppers has emerged as an important part of the Rangers’ bullpen this season, posting a 1.74 ERA and 32/17 K/BB ratio over 46 2/3 innings. He has held opposing batters to a .202 batting average.
Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon achieved a rare feat during Monday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition against the Orioles: he homered twice in one inning. One of those homers happened to be a grand slam.
Leon led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run off of Logan Verrett. Verrett continued to get knocked around, giving up three singles and a walk before being relieved by Brian Moran. Moran gave up a walk to load the bases, then a single to knock in a run and keep the bases loaded. Leon stepped back to the plate and swatted a grand slam to left field, making it an eight-run fifth for the Red Sox. The Sox would tack on one more before the inning was mercifully ended.
How often do players homer twice in one inning during the regular season? Not that often. Since 2010, the feat has been accomplished four times in the American League and twice in the National League. The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo was the only one to do it last year.
As for Leon, he’s on track to open the season as the starting catcher in Boston, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported last week.
The Phillies announced on Monday that the club released veteran catchers Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday. Both were competing for the back-up catcher spot on the team’s 25-man roster. With both out of the picture, that means Andrew Knapp has won that honor.
Knapp, 25, hit a combined .266/.330/.390 with eight home runs and 46 RBI in 443 plate appearances last year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He did not have a great spring but has hit well as of late, which likely pushed him ahead of Hanigan and Holaday. Knapp will serve as the understudy to starting catcher Cameron Rupp.