Just heard this one: A disc jockey, a pilot, a baseball player and a supermodel all get shot into outer space. The disc jockey says to the supermodel, “hey, come here often?” and then she says …
Oh. Wait. It’s not a joke, Here’s MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch, reporting on Hensley Meulens’ wild ride:
He went on to share details about the upcoming space mission, which will take place in 2014. Meulens’ space ticket came courtesy of Space Expedition Curacao, which is in the process of acquiring a commercial spaceship. The initiative will eventually allow the public — for a very hefty price tag, of course — to purchase a ticket for a quick trip to space.
The first 100 flights, though, have been set aside for a group of so called “Founder Astronauts.” Meulens will join three Dutch celebrities — a disc jockey, an air travel pioneer and a supermodel — on flight No. 1. That announcement was made on April 12.
Since this is a a Curacao-based thing, I assume that Andruw Jones is the backup. But, since Meulens is the San Francisco Giants’ hitting coach — the same San Francisco Giants that can’t hit their way out of a paper bag these days — I’m guessing his schedule will be wide open come 2014 to make that flight.
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.
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.