By Andrew Kahn
Bryce Harper finally faced a pitcher younger than he is. Harper debuted at 19 years old, so it’s not totally unexpected that it took him 415 games to face a younger pitcher. While he flew out on Wednesday against the Yankees’ Jacob Lindgren, he continues to put up MVP numbers. Here are five other notable happenings around the diamond.
Another Giants no-no
All no-hitters, as they say, come out of nowhere. But when an unheralded pitcher is making just his 13th career start, it’s even more surprising. Chris Heston, a 27-year-old right-hander who was a 12th round pick in 2009, no-hit the Mets in New York on Tuesday night. He struck out 11 and didn’t walk a batter, though he did hit three, a first for a no-no. Most no-hitters seems to have at least one great defensive play or close call, but this one didn’t. In addition to the 11 strikeouts (six of which were looking, including all three ninth-inning outs), Heston induced 13 groundouts (one was a double play) and two weak flies. The only ball that was hit even somewhat hard was the final out of the eighth, a grounder in the shortstop hole that Brandon Crawford played on his backhand. Watch every batter Heston faced here:
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While the Mets have had just one no-hitter in their history—Johan Santana’s in 2012—the Giants have had one each of the past four seasons.
The player who inspired an addition to the baseball rulebook made his big league debut last Friday at Fenway Park. Pat Venditte, the ambidextrous pitcher, used both arms in two innings of scoreless relief for the A’s. He threw left-handed to retire the first batter he faced and right-handed to the second, giving up a single. He even faced a switch-hitter, forcing him to declare which arm he’d use, per the “Venditte Rule.”
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The 29-year-old has pitched 5.2 scoreless innings over four appearances, allowing just one hit and two walks, while striking out four.
The First-Year Player Draft took place from Monday to Wednesday. The Diamondbacks took Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson with the first pick, and two more shortstops followed. Sons of famous major leaguers Rogers Clemens, Craig Biggio, and Mariano Rivera were also chosen. With no clear-cut No. 1 prospect in this class, it’s impossible to know which picks will become stars or even reach the big leagues. It’s estimated that 75 percent of first rounders eventually reach the majors, but just one in six overall.
Votto’s hat trick
For the third time in his relatively brief career, Joey Votto hit three home runs in one game, doing so at home against the Phillies on Tuesday. The Reds’ slugger went yard to right-center, left-center, and right in an 11-2 win. The other active players with at least three three-homer games are Mark Teixeira, Albert Pujols, Aramis Ramirez, and Alex Rodriguez, the latter three having done it four times. All four of those sluggers have been playing several years longer than Votto, who debuted in 2007. On Tuesday, Votto walked in the first inning before homering in the third, fifth, and seventh and grounding out in his final at-bat in the eighth.
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Injured fan improving
The best baseball-related news of the week, by far, is that the medical condition of Tonya Carpenter, the fan who was struck by a bat at last Friday’s game at Fenway Park, was upgraded to “good” yesterday afternoon. She left the field in critical condition after a piece of a shattered bat struck her in the face.
Andrew Kahn is a regular contributor to CBS Local who also writes for Newsday and The Wall Street Journal. He writes about baseball and other sports at http://andrewjkahn.com. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @AndrewKahn