Why are the Yankees pretending to have a budget this year?

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Well, they have some budget. I mean, eventually we’ll would reach a point where the Yankees actually can’t afford to meet payroll. I just think that number is way higher than the $198 million they’re claiming to be held to this year.  So why are they sticking to this likely artificial budget?

Because next year is going to be when they really go hog wild.  I mentioned Carl Crawford earlier this morning, but the 2010 free agent class really is significantly better than the 2009 class and there are many players to spend their money on next year that are better buys than Jason Bay, Matt Holliday or Johnny Damon.  Players like Crawford, and Jayson Werth and Cliff Lee and Josh Beckett and Brandon Webb and Matt Cain and, yes, Joe Mauer (who some are speculating could rake in $30 million a year if he hits the open market).

No, I don’t think the Yankees are all-in on all of those guys — I’ve often said and still believe that the Twins will extend Mauer — but in my mind this is shaping up like 2008’s lull before New York went crazy on Sabathia, Teixeira and Burnett before the 2009 season.  Biding their time — the extent acquiring Granderson and Vazquez can be called biding one’s time — until they jack up the payroll to $220 million+ and make a run at Crawford and maybe one of Lee, Beckett or (shudder) Mauer.

Not that I endorse that for the good of anyone’s health outside of the Yankees Universe.

Video: Angels use eight pitchers in spring training no-hitter

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Who says no-hitters can’t be just as fun when they happen during spring training?

Angels’ right-hander Bud Norris delivered two perfect innings on Friday night, paving the way for an eight-pitcher no-hitter against the Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Jose Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Austin Adams, Drew Gagnon and Justin Anderson each filed a hitless inning of their own, leaving right-hander Abel De Los Santos to close out the ninth inning with just three pitches — and three game-saving plays by the defense.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Angels were facing a bevy of Mariners’ backups, rather than their starting lineup. In fact, Seattle’s lineup featured just two starting players — outfielder Leonys Martin and shortstop Jean Segura — while the majority of their everyday position players took on the Royals in a 4-3 win elsewhere in the Cactus League. The Mariners managed to reach base twice, first on catcher interference in the fourth inning, then on a four-pitch walk in the sixth, spoiling the Angels’ chances of turning their combined no-hitter into a combined perfect game.

Still, whether it’s executed in spring training or the regular season, against an All-Star lineup or one comprised of minor leaguers, a no-hitter is a no-hitter. The team’s eight-pitcher effort marked the first spring training no-no the Angels had completed since 1996, when they took on the Giants in a 15-0 showdown. Unfortunately for the 1996 squad, their regular season ended with a 70-91 record, good for last place in the AL West. Perhaps this no-hitter will prove a better omen for the coming season.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.