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Edinson Volquez pitches the first no-hitter of 2017

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It’s been 408 days since a major league pitcher successfully completed a no-hit bid. On Saturday, Marlins’ hurler Edinson Volquez brought that streak to an end with his first career no-hitter against the Diamondbacks.

The 33-year-old right-hander maintained a perfect game through four innings before issuing a walk to Jake Lamb to lead off the fifth inning. A few close plays nearly spoiled the no-no, including a controversial play in the fourth inning, when Paul Goldschmidt was called safe after evading a tag from Justin Bour at first base. Upon review, the call was overturned in the Marlins’ favor, gifting Volquez with his 12th out of the game.

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More alarming was Volquez’s violent collision with Rey Fuentes in the first inning, which left both players shaken up and almost forced Volquez to make an early exit from the game.

Volquez allowed a second baserunner in the eighth inning, walking Chris Herrmann on five pitches moments before Brandon Drury hit into an inning-ending double play. In all other respects, Marlins’ No. 3 starter looked untouchable on the mound, striking out 10 of 27 batters and expending just 98 pitches to earn another rare distinction: the ‘Maddux’, a title reserved for those who toss a complete game shutout with 99 or fewer pitches.

With the gem, Volquez became the first Marlins pitcher to record a no-hitter since Henderson Alvarez‘s no-no against the Tigers in September 2013. According to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro and Glenn Sattell, that was also the last time a pitcher of any MLB affiliation tossed a ‘Maddux’ no-hitter, as Alvarez needed just 99 pitches to complete the shutout.

Even more meaningful was Volquez’s motivation heading into the game. Hours before his start on Saturday evening, he posted a tribute to former teammate Yordano Ventura on Instagram. Ventura was killed in a car crash in late January and would have turned 26 years old on Saturday.

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Miss you broth HBD to Ace Ventura one love

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Maddon: Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch again for Angels this year

Shohei Ohtani
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Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch again this season for the Los Angeles Angels after straining his right forearm in his second start, manager Joe Maddon says.

Ohtani likely will return to the Angels’ lineup as their designated hitter this week, Maddon said Tuesday night before the club opened a road series against the Seattle Mariners.

The Angels’ stance on Ohtani is unsurprising after the club announced he had strained the flexor pronator mass near the elbow of his pitching arm. The two-way star’s recovery from the strain requires him to abstain from throwing for four to six weeks, which covers most of the shortened 2020 season.

“I’m not anticipating him pitching at all this year,” Maddon said. “Any kind of throwing program is going to be very conservative.”

Ohtani was injured Sunday in the second inning of his second start since returning to the mound following Tommy John surgery in late 2018. Ohtani issued five walks during the 42-pitch inning against the Houston Astros, with his velocity dropping later in the frame.

The arm injury is another obstacle in Ohtani’s path to becoming the majors’ first true two-way player in decades. He made 10 mound starts as a rookie in 2018 before injuring his elbow, but he served as the Angels’ regular designated hitter last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Ohtani has pitched in only three games since June 2018, but the Angels still believe in Ohtani’s ability to be a two-way player, Maddon said.

“I’m seeing that he can,” Maddon said. “We’ve just got to get past the arm maladies and figure that out. But I’ve seen it. He’s just such a high-end arm, and we’ve seen what he can do in the batter’s box. Now maybe it might get to the point where he may choose to do one thing over the other and express that to us. I know he likes to hit. In my mind’s eye, he’s still going to be able to do this.”

The veteran manager believes Ohtani will benefit from a full spring training and a normal season. Ohtani wasn’t throwing at full strength for a starter when the coronavirus pandemic shut down spring training in March because he wasn’t expected to pitch until May as he returned from surgery.

“Going into a regular season with a normal number of starts and all the things that permit guys to be ready for a year, that’s what we need to see is some normalcy before you make that kind of determination,” Maddon said.

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