Another early oddity: Seattle catcher uses mask to field ball

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It’s not just my imagination that we’ve had more than our usual share of weird plays these first few days, is it?
With the A’s up 4-0 on the Mariners in the eighth inning and Travis Buck on first Thursday, Cliff Pennington dropped down a bunt that bounced off the glove of third baseman Jose Lopez and started to roll towards foul territory down the third-base line.
Fortunately, catcher Adam Moore was in good position at the time and scooped the ball up before it got too far away. Unfortunately, he performed said scoop with the catcher’s mask in his right hand, rather than the glove on his left.
The miscue led to a meeting between the umpires and the eventual decision to award both runners an extra base, putting Pennington on second and Buck on third. Both later came around to score, giving the A’s a 6-0 lead.

Padres may have more interest in Dallas Keuchel than Bryce Harper

Dallas Keuchel
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An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.

As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.

While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.