Some weeks back David Ortiz loudly complained about an official scorer’s call that he felt (correctly) cost him a hit, made a point to publicly call out the scorer for not giving him a hometown call and then successfully appealed the call. He received a lot of criticism for that. But based on this story from Murray Chass, Ortiz’s offense against propriety was the public part of it, not the appeal, because he is not at all alone in asking for scoring decisions to be changed. Indeed, those numbers are on the way up since Joe Torre took over that particular bailiwick:
Torre said he didn’t know how many calls he had changed this season.
“Last year I overturned about one-fourth to one-third of the requests,” he said. What about specific numbers? “There were a lot. I’d rather not tell you that. The first year” – 2011 – “it was a workable number. It’s probably tripled.”
Chass spoke to other sources which confirm that one-third-to-one-fourth figure and which say there are probably fifty overturned calls each season, or perhaps as many as three or four a week.
If you can navigate around the introductory and, for him, obligatory old fogeyism, Chass has some interesting nuggets in there, both regarding the number of scoring changes which are made and Major League Baseball’s curiously cagey approach to questions about them. And, most importantly, one suggestion about the reason for the increase in the scoring changes: the MLBPA being pressured by agents to be more proactive in making such appeals.
I tend to agree with Chass here about the early months of the Tony Clark Administration not being all that impressive. I would hope this sort of thing isn’t a big priority for them and that agents’ desires and the interests of some players as opposed to all aren’t what’s running the show.
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.