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HumpLinks: Angels find Rays of hope in Florida

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Nate Karns steps up to the task and restores the Halo offense again, for the second time in a week. This time, however, LAA pitching didn't give it all back.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Whew. Finally. A second win in the month of June. Thank the accident of good fortune that the Rays came back on our schedule, since they represent the only other win in June. And those 3 errors that Tampa Bay committed revealed a level of sloppiness that eased the Halo path to victory. I'll take it and hope for more. And I'll give you some links of happiness to start your day:

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Angels Baseball
David Freese left the game early last night with the dreaded "tight hammy" virus. Seems like this might be going around. (Somebody get Dustin Hoffman on the line.) "My hamstring has been grabbing a little bit lately. Something I’m managing. We’ll see how it is tomorrow. Wouldn’t even say it’s hurt, just been grabbing. Haven’t been playing with it long. Just felt it a little more tonight so came out. Don’t think I will go on DL." Famous last words. Freese's hamstring is doomed.............

Nick Tropeano lovers take note, because he isn't coming up any time soon. Not as long as he is dealing with rotator cuff tendinitis.  "Trainers had not given Tropeano a timetable for a return as of the weekend. But he had been throwing from a flat surface from distances of 90 feet and 120 feet, and he did not expect the injury to have long-term effects."............

With C.J. Cron being recalled from Salt Lake after theoretically getting back in touch with hot Spring promise, we cannot be sure what is going to be the greater challenge for him getting regular at-bats against real pitching. Will it be things like his 0 for New York City last weekend and that plummeting slash line? Or will it be, instead, the rebirth of Albert Pujols and his home run chase? You tell me. What would you rather see? Albert Pujols continue to rise, or Albert tail back off and Cron regain his ST amazing?..........

(Just as an aside, all the LAA recap news yesterday was Pujols tying Mickey Mantle on the all-time career HR list. Pujols is now 12 HR's behind Mike Schmidt at #15, and 47 behind Mark McGwire to get all the way up and into the Top 10.)...........

I continue to harp on this, mostly out of personal ignorance. The MLB Draft only comes around once a year, and each team only gets so many picks. Therefore, each pick has some level of value and importance. I know that prospecting is the riskiest of all things baseball and that few things are certain beyond death, taxes and the career value of the kid picked #1 overall. So you know that the Angels picked a catcher in the 1st round, at pick 26. I've said enough on that (for this week, anyway). This paragraph is more about pick #285, where the Angels chose Tanner Lubach in Round 9. Lubach is another catcher. What gets me is this quote from Scouting Director Ric Wilson: "We've been on the lookout for catching over the last few years and it might be the hardest thing to get in the Draft. Some of our guys really, really liked [Lubach]. What we liked about him was his catch-and-throw skills, which is going to allow some of the young pitchers that we've drafted over the last four years to help develop." My headspinning has everything to do with the 14 catchers drafted and brought into the system over the most recent 3 drafts. Apparently none of those guys are going to work out, not even enough to play catch with the your pitching draftees. Why give a pass on going 0 for 14 on those picks? And, going beyond the issue of draft misses and thinking about working with young pitchers, what is Jett Bandy doing with his time these days? I dunno. I may never figure it out...........




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Elsewhere in Baseball

Shouild I no longer feel so bad, or should I feel even worse? SF Giants' rookie pitcher Chris Heston has already thrown a no-hitter, in only the 15th MLB appearance of his entire career. Heston had 3 viewings late last year, throwing only 5.1 innings, and only 1 of those was a start. This, 2015, is truly his first time around baseball. The kid throws a no-hitter in his 12th start of the season, his 13th start of his career. Phenomenal. Ok, sure, it was against the Mets and I might be inclined to put an asterisk on this, but that is not how baseball works. Ask Jered Weaver just how insane that is. Few pitchers ever even get one. It took Weaver 183 tries to nail his (hopefully only his first!) So, should I feel better that this is the same Heston who held the Halos to 2 runs back on May 1st? Or should I feel crappy because these days the best chance we have of any LAA starter throwing a no-no is...Hector Santiago?!...........

PSA moment. In case you didn't already know, when anybody tosses a no-hitter you have about 3 1/2 seconds to register with Dominos and get yourself a free one of those round things they call "pizza"..............

Somebody is getting a lot of kudos for taking a prospect that was right there, ready for a fitting in a halo uniform. "This move is less of a risk than we’re used too from [Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos], but it looks like a shrewd move that can pay big dividends for the club going forward."...........

The Astros just keep getting richer, faster. With an accelerated turnaround 2 years ahead of schedule (so much for finally getting a creampuff in the AL West) and a farm system having gotten damned deep through some exploitation of draft system exploitation, here we see them bring up Carlos Correa and Correa immediately jazzes up the Astros offense by going 2 for 4 with a home run and stolen base...........

Ok, Only slightly OT. I get it that sports is, at the most elemental, entertainment. But there does remain a level of integrity about the enterprise that should allow it to stand alone and be its own thing.  Television and radio serve to present and report the thing, not be any part of the thing. Part of the access is that they will act as partners in promotion, but they need not be a part. So when I read that the Chairman of NBC Sports tried to inject himself into hockey tradition for the sake of his videography, I have to wonder what might be happening in Major League Baseball. (Beyond, of course, things like scheduling that we already know about.)...........

Speaking of videography, doing a video selfie while catching a foul ball is starting to become a thing. I suggest, for the novices, paying particular attention to how fast the baseball comes right at your head............