John Farrell to get fined for being critical of instant replay

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When Major League Baseball finally approved instant replay, a strong message was sent along with it, both through official channels and unofficial channels in the form of background comments to many reporters writing replay stories.

That message? It’s a work in progress. Baseball is being deliberate because it wants to get things right. If things don’t go smoothly, we’ll adjust. We’ll listen to managers and players and umpires and do our best to tweak the system.

That’s a smart message! It’s also one that is being undermined by fining people who are critical of replay. As baseball is apparently going to do to John Farrell. From the Daily News:

Joe Torre, MLB’s executive VP of baseball operations, told the Daily News on Monday that Farrell would be fined for his critical remarks about baseball’s new replay system following Boston’s 3-2 loss Sunday night.

The comments, which included Farrell saying “it’s hard to have any faith in the (replay) system,” came after instant replay decisions went against the Sox in losses on Saturday and Sunday.

Farrell didn’t say it was corrupt. He didn’t say it was a failure. He voiced his frustration with a system that has not been perfect out of the gate.  While I’m sure Major League Baseball would prefer such criticisms to be a bit more constructive and a lot more private, fining someone for stating the bleedin’ obvious like Farrell did is not exactly on all fours with the message about wanting feedback about their sure-to-be-tweaked work-in-progress.

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

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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

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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.