It may be spring training, but no-hitters are always fun. Marlins pitchers Brad Hand, Steve Cishek, A.J. Ramos, and Arquimedes Camineros combined for nine innings of no-hit baseball against the Yankees. The game was played at Rod Carew Stadium in Panama as part of the “Legend Series”.
Brad Hand started the game and went five innings, striking out six. Steve Cishek followed up with a scoreless frame with one walk. Ramos pitched the seventh and eighth innings, walking one, and Caminero wrapped up the ballgame with a strikeout in his only inning of work.
The Yankees were only fielding half of what will be their starting lineup, but Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, Carlos Beltran, and Alfonso Soriano combined to go 0-for-11 out of the top four spots in the lineup. Manager Joe Girardi wasn’t happy. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:
“You never want to be no-hit,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I don’t care what game it is, what level. You never want to see that.”
Still, better to get no-hit in the Grapefruit League than during the regular season. The Marlins, surprisingly, have the lowest team ERA in spring training. Hand has had a great showing, allowing just one run in 12 innings of work thus far, posting a 15-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.
Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”
Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.
The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.