Ricky Nolasco pitched seven scoreless innings and combined with two Marlins relievers to pitch a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers on Sunday in Lakeland, Fla.
03/23/2009 3:56 PM ET
Nolasco leads rare combo no-hitter
Marlins ace continues to dazzle this spring
"I've never seen it in Spring Training," Tigers manager Jim Leyland told the South Florida Sun-Sentinell. "There wasn't anything fluky about it. [Nolasco] was tremendous."
"It's pretty cool," Nolasco said. "Hopefully I can save some of those zeros for the season."
Koskie takes a bow after nine-year career: After nine years in the Major Leagues, Corey Koskie has decided to retire from the game following a two-year period during which he has been fighting post-concussion syndrome.
"It really boils down to risk/reward," Koskie told the Chicago Sun-Times. "I still can play, but on the other side of it, if I play, I want to be able to play 100 percent. I don't want to be thinking about, 'What if I do this?' 'What if I dive?' 'What if I do this?'
"It might be a little different if I was 23 and had my whole career ahead of me and didn't have any kids, didn't have a family, didn't have a wife. But, really, is it worth trying to squeeze out a couple more years?"
Carpenter brings winning feeling to Cards: If there were any mystery left as to just how good Chris Carpenter can be when he's healthy, look no further than the Cardinals' .706 winning percentage from 2004-06 in games which Carpenter pitched. Backup Jason LaRue has caught Carpenter plenty this spring.
"He's the best I've ever caught," LaRue told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "That's no bull. That's not blowing smoke. I'm not trying to hype him. I'm not trying to do anything. If something comes out of my mouth, it's the truth. And that's the truth. 'Carp' is by far the sharpest I've ever caught. You don't get a guy who can throw four pitches when he wants and where he wants 95 percent of the time. And his four pitches are four above-average pitches."
LaRoche stays close to home with bracket picks: Andy LaRoche is one of many Major League players following the NCAA basketball tournament closely -- and he recently admitted to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he even picked the home team to go all the way in one of his two brackets.
"In the championship, I got Pittsburgh winning one in one bracket, and the other I think I have Memphis," he said. "I think Pitt is the best team in the country right now. They beat UConn twice. They were No. 1. They're my top pick to win it."
Getz wins starting job at second base: For the Chicago White Sox, the mystery as to who will start at second base is now over -- it's going to be Chris Getz.
"He's going to be my second baseman," manager Ozzie Guillen told MLB.com. "He worked hard enough. He showed people he can play in this game. He showed people he can help us to do what we want to do.
"I think this kid's got everything working for him right now, and I'm really excited about it. It's up to him how long he's going to be our second baseman."
Diaz thankful for support from Cox: Matt Diaz will always be grateful for the opportunities that Braves manager Bobby Cox has given to him. Cox helped land Diaz from the Royals three years ago.
"Bobby has put me in situations where I've succeeded pinch-hitting," Diaz told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He's put me in straight platoons or let me play a lot and given me the confidence to succeed [in both]. Whatever role he puts me in, he'll put me in the right frame of mind to handle it.
"I totally trust him. He's why my career has lasted as long as it has and has been better than most people thought it would be."
Furcal showing back problems are behind him: Rafael Furcal has not had to miss any Spring Training games due to issues with his back, which he had surgery on last season.
"Every now and then I'm a little scared but I feel fine," Furcal told the Los Angeles Times. "I feel normal. I haven't felt anything."
"It doesn't look like anything's bothering him," third-base coach Larry Bowa said. "He's making backhanded plays even. He gets extension now."
Ishikawa sees power surge: Travis Ishikawa hit two home runs on Saturday during a split-squad game against the A's. The Giants first baseman now leads the team with five homers but cautions fans about expecting him to be a big power hitter.
"If we're relying on me to hit home runs, we're in trouble," Ishikawa told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I know the fans have been waiting for someone to hit home runs since Barry Bonds left, but that's not the kind of hitter I am."
Kendrick making headway batting second in lineup: With Bobby Abreu away at the World Baseball Classic, the Angels have used Howie Kendrick second in the batting order. Manager Mike Scioscia has been pleased with the results and may keep Kendrick there for the regular season, pushing Abreu to third and Vladimir Guerrero to cleanup.
"I think our lineup gets pretty deep if we have Howie doing what he can do hitting second, then Bobby third and Vlad fourth," Scioscia told the Los Angeles Times.
"The template we laid out had [Chone Figgins], Abreu and Vlad one-two-three, but [with Kendrick hitting second] it can lengthen our lineup a bit. Another bat in front of Vlad might be more productive to set the table for him."
Pudge to get familiar with staff quickly: Pudge Rodriguez made his debut with the Houston Astros on Sunday, starting behind the plate against the Washington Nationals. Rodriguez went 1-for-3, singling to center in his first at-bat in the bottom of the first as the No. 2 hitter in the lineup.
With two weeks left before the start of the season, Astros manager Cecil Cooper said he plans to have Rodriguez catch each of the team's starters in order to get used to them. He will spend a lot of time traveling the next two weeks.
"He's going to catch all of these guys once, at least," Cooper told the Houston Chronicle of Rodriguez. "When he's not, he's going to probably make the trips, and he'll be able to sit with guys and visit with guys, catch one pen here, one pen there. He'll get used to these guys. It won't take long, not at all."
Hoffman unsure of when he'll pitch again: Trevor Hoffman's oblique strain is taking longer to heal than expected, leaving the Milwaukee Brewers with the possibility of starting the season with the all-time career-saves leader on the disabled list.
"It's being stubborn," Hoffman, who did no throwing after two days of playing catch, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Obliques are different because it's not specific, like with an elbow, or a muscle in the shoulder.
"It's not something you can point your finger to and say that's the source. You can't say, 'When is this going to get better?' There's no answer."
McCarthy snagged championship ring as a rookie: Brandon McCarthy hasn't spent a lot of time in the Majors yet, but he does have something a lot of other Major League players want -- a World Series ring. McCarthy was a member of the Chicago White Sox in 2005, going 3-2 with a 4.93 ERA in 12 appearances that season. He was not on the postseason roster, but he did travel with the team and was on hand when the club clinched the World Series title in Houston.
"I technically had never won anything, and to be part of a World Series team my rookie year was pretty special," he told the Dallas Morning News. "It was really weird, because you grow up watching it, and it really just felt like regular baseball games. Then, at the end, you're celebrating. We never clinched anything at home, and we never got to hear that roar. But it was still a lot of fun, going back to the hotel and celebrating afterwards."
Jennings could lend a hand in bullpen: Jason Jennings, recovering from flexor tendon surgery he had last May, said he would be willing to start the season in the bullpen if he isn't ready to be in the starting rotation.
"As long as he's healthy, it's some great depth to have," Texas manager Ron Washington told the Dallas Morning News.
Murphy gets the nod to bat second: Daniel Murphy, who was named the starting left fielder early in camp, has impressed the Mets in the No. 2 spot in the batting order.
"I'm confident that I can go out there and try to put a quality at-bat on them every time," Murphy, who hit .313 with two homers and 17 RBIs during his rookie season, told the New York Daily News. "That's what my goal is. It's not numbers. It's not hits. It's not home runs. It's not doubles or RBI. It's quality at-bats."
Murphy entered the weekend batting .364 and was tied for the Major League lead in hits this spring with 20.
Hughes could bring insurance to Yankees: Phil Hughes, who will start the season in the Minor Leagues, pitched very well this spring, giving the team some insurance in case of injury to a starting pitcher.
"He had a very good spring for us," manager Joe Girardi told the New York Daily News. "I thought he attacked the zone. The thing is, we ran out of innings for him here, and we want him stretched out. We can't do that here.
"We were very happy with the progress he made over the fall, into the spring -- where he came from last year. He's had some injuries, and he hasn't pitched as much as he should have the last two years, but he was pretty good this spring."
Lowrie swinging a hot bat: Entering the weekend, Jed Lowrie was hitting .462 and had a .872 slugging percentage while putting together a .500 on-base percentage. He led Boston in hits (18), RBIs (10) and doubles with six.
"Put him on ice," manager Terry Francona told the Boston Herald. "He's probably in a little bit more of a groove because he's played more consistently, but he's been on everything. You try to time it so when the season starts, everybody [is hot], but you'd rather see guys swing the bat good [in Spring Training] than not good."
Trio returns to action for Blue Jays: The Toronto Blue Jays welcomed back three core players to the lineup over the weekend: Rod Barajas at catcher, Alex Rios in right field and Vernon Wells as designated hitter.
Wells, recovering from a pulled left hamstring that he suffered on Feb. 23, was playing in his first game of the spring. Barajas had been playing for Mexico and Rios for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic.
"I wish I was still playing [for Puerto Rico] -- I was having a great time," Rios told the Toronto Sun. "It was perfect ..."
Well, not completely perfect, as the United States knocked Puerto Rico out of the Classic by scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning on Tuesday.
"Yeah, that was horrible," Rios said. "Now I'm back to reality. I'm still thinking about it. It was one of the toughest losses in my career, but what can I do?"
-- Red Line Editorial