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WeekEnd HaloLinks: Last Weekend in Tempe!

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10 days left before Opening Day. Let's close out this final Spring Training weekend in Tempe and start packing for home.

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Monday, April 4th, will be Opening Night. The Angels will be hosting the Cubs, game time at 7:05PM. That date is only 10 days from today. It's so close that the Halo staff has packed up the bulk of the team equipment and have been trucking it all back to Anaheim already. When you wake up tomorrow, you will be just single digits away from REAL BASEBALL AGAIN!

Also, I see some poor Halo fan stuck back east and unable to use his Opening Day tickets. Practically face value. No TicketMaster surcharge. I hope he gets to sell them and recoup his investment. What are the odds?

Have some Fresh-Mown-Grass-Smell Links:

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Everywhere In Baseball

Zip Lines: Tyler Skaggs got back out onto the mound against live batters yesterday, for the first time since, what, July 31st of 2014? First pitch to first batter = flyball out. First pitch to second batter = flyball out. First three pitches to third batter = K. First pitch to fourth batter should have been an infield out, but was an error. First pitch to fifth batter = flyball out. So over his first 5 batters faced, he threw a total 7 pitches and should have had all 5 outs....Skaggs then goes wild pitch, single, strike, strike, strike to finish his outing. Seriously, just how much more dominant could you have asked for??? (Click on innings 7 and 8 of the Play by Play info and watch Skaggs mow down the bottom of each inning.)..........

A K-Free Existence: Most of that starting lineup we saw yesterday might be pretty common throughout 2016. Facing the seriously capable Chris Sale, they struck out 5 times. Not bad. But what's better is that even after adding Craig Gentry and the other half of the LF platoon, out of 399 Spring Training at-bats, that group of players has struck out only 30 times. 8 of those strikeouts belong to C.J. Cron all by himself. The balance of that set of guys have only 22 strikeouts in 349 at-bats. That's almost 1 K per every 15.9 AB's. By way of comparison, last season our core group struck out on average once every 4.8 AB's. I don't know what they are putting into their Kool-Aid over there in Tempe, but I hope it makes it back with the rest of the team when they return to Anaheim............

Fast Balls: We already know that Garrett Richards has been tabbed as the hardest throwing starting pitcher in MLB. This news came out a while back. Well, Richards went after a split squad and word got out that he was blazing new trails. So it got the scribes digging into things. And, yesseree, Garrett Richards is actually now throwing even harder now. I hope his arm holds up..........

Aramark of Death: Here we go, people, the latest update on the pending 2016 Foods of Doom coming to ballparks across America. Aramark has issued a press release concerning all they are up to in their designer...um..."kitchens". It's only 10 of the 30 clubs, but it's a start..........(By the way, seek out the Rangers menu and focus in on the $27 Wicked Pig Sandwich.)

Yo Knows Boneheads: Gotta love Yeonis Cespedes. Yo completely cluster-fracked a fly ball over his head that came to an abrupt stop at the base of the center field wall. Since the base of that wall is a slight ledge, the ball was prevented from rebounding around the warning track. Cespedes took that outcome to interpret the play as a dead ball. He absolutely refused to make any attempt to play the ball, thinking the batter should hold at second base. Said batter did not. Said batter ran all the way home to score. That only encouraged Cespedes to double-down on his embarrassing misapplication of the rulebook. The best part is where the umpire had to go all the way out to the wall and physically demonstrate to Yo how easy it is to make the play...........Bottom line: Cespedes shows less hustle and instinct than a squirrel..........

Panda Express: Somebody at Fenway needs to rename one of those Aramark plates of doom after Pablo Sandoval. Sandoval, infamously, showed up to camp even more morbid than in past years. Just this week he injured himself while diving after a ball. With a sore back, he is out a few games. Make all the excuses you want, but obese people diving hard onto dirt surfaces should expect to harm themselves more than others, especially in the spine. I speak from experience here. I used to have this very problem. I no longer do. This can only add to the risk of Sandoval being a $17.6 million paperweight at the end of the Red Sox bench..........

Bush League: If there is one franchise that truly believes every ballplayer capable of contributing to a win deserves a 34th chance, it's the Texas Rangers. Matt Bush, fresh out of prison after a lengthy sequence of incredibly bad behavioral issues, is the latest such opportunity. Pay particular attention to the caption under Bush's photo on that link. What was his high school thinking??.........

Just Joshin': Hambone is feeling great these days. The best he's felt since he took all of Arte's money. Which forces me to ask how he passed any physical in order to get that contract out of Arte in the first place?..........

EXPO Exhibition: The Red Sox and Blue Jays are lined up to play a pair of exhibition games in Montreal starting a week from now. For the moment, let's set aside the question of why a Toronto franchise would desire to promote the city of Montreal? Montreal itself is demonstrating the full power of Quebec to embrace baseball, selling 106,000 tickets so far for 2 games..........

More Flipping Out: First Goose Gossage. Then Johnny Bench. Now Mike Schmidt. I am embarrassed for my generation. What a bunch of sphincter constrictors we turned out to be.........

Tired: Yesterday we shared the news that David Murphy, Panic Platoon grab last year for the Halos in an attempt to get anything productive into our roster after the Hamboner episode, will probably retire altogether rather than take a minor league assignment from the Red Sox. Well, the other half of that Panic Platoon - Shane Victorino - is about to also retire rather than take a similar assignment from the Cubs. That would just leave Matt Joyce, the third half of the Panic Platoon, who is hanging in there with the Pirates, as the only guy we took a flyer on who was not one last step from his rocking chair. And even Joyce might start the year in AAA. That pretty much sums it all up............

Baseball Biz: The folks engaged in trying to con the carriers into picking up the TWC LA package and hand over to them millions of their revenue because, well, Dodgers, are now hard at work invoking the legacy of Vin Scully and Scully's farewell season to apply emotional blackmail and get their deal done, if even for only one season. Note in the link that TWC has lost $200 million to date on their package, with another $100 million loss looming over their 2016 season. The Dodgers got their money, so it's less skin off their back. But it shows just how much money TWC hopes to extract from carriers (and consumers, should the carrier simply pass through that cost increase) out of the SoCal market...........

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