Clutching to a 4-3 lead in the top of the eighth inning on Friday night against the Phillies, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson brought in lefty Oliver Perez as the Phillies were leading off with two lefties of their own in Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Perez retired Utley on a weak fly ball to shallow left-center. Before Howard could settle into the batter’s box, Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg strode towards home plate umpire Mark Wegner to start a conversation. As Steve Berthiaume noted on the D-Backs’ TV broadcast, the conversation was about the slits in Perez’s undershirt, which may have been a distraction.
The umpires then grouped up and conferred. Wegner approached Perez on the mound and informed him that he would have to change or remove the undershirt before he could continue pitching. Annoyed, Perez stomped off of the field and yanked his button-up uniform over his head before heading into the dugout to meet the dress code.
Perez came back out and threw a warm-up pitch with the fire of a thousand angry gods, it appeared, before resuming play against Howard. If Sandberg’s concern was a tactical ploy, it worked, because Howard singled off of Perez, prompting Gibson to bring in the right-handed Brad Ziegler to face Marlon Byrd. Byrd singled to put runners on first and second, but Ziegler induced both Domonic Brown and Carlos Ruiz into grounding out to end the threat. The D-Backs would go on to win 5-4.
The whole incident involving Perez was fascinating. You can watch it below:
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.
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.