Can't afford tickets? Indians might give you some for free

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We all know things are rough out there. A lot of people are out of jobs, struggling to make ends meet.

The Cleveland Indians are trying to help, offering fans the ability to win 12-game ticket packages through an essay contest.

But for those feeling a bit strapped on the cash front in these tough economic times, the Indians are offering the opportunity to win free tickets as part of their 12-Pack Essay Contest. Twenty-five applicants will be awarded four Pepsi 12-Pack ticket packages based on their response to the following:

In 500 words or less, please explain your current economic circumstance and what winning an Indians 12-Pack would mean to you during the 2010 season. Please incorporate your passion as a Cleveland Indians fan and love for baseball in your response.

It’s a cool idea, and certainly a generous offer to give away four 12-game ticket packages to 25 winners. In addition, everyone who applies will receive a voucher for four free seats to a game in April or May (not counting Opening Day).

I would think this contest has plenty of potential to be awkward, however. I’m not sure how eager I would be to outline my financial woes – in as convincing terms as possible – in a 500-word essay contest. Not sure how eager I’d be to judge the essays either.

But as depressing as this contest might be, I have to give the Indians credit for the gesture. When times are tough, it might be nice to take in a ballgame on the house. Plus, if you’re really strapped, you could always scalp your tickets.

(Thanks to The Sporting Blog)

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.