Dodgers righty Ross Stripling nearly completed a no-hitter in his first big-league start, but he headed into the season with the far more modest hope of avoiding going back to Double-A, Tyler Kepner of the New York Times writes. “I knew we were going to have a lot of guys filter down to Triple-A and that might push guys back to Double-A,” he says. “When they kind of told me early in spring that I was going to Oklahoma City, that was a good thing for me. I was happy to be going up a level.” Beginning the season at Double-A wouldn’t have seemed at all unreasonable for Stripling, at least on paper — it would have been his third year at the level, but he made only 13 starts at Double-A Tulsa while returning from Tommy John surgery in 2015. Instead of going back to Tulsa this year, Stripling quickly made his way to the big leagues and enjoyed an improbable level of immediate success. The last pitcher to throw a no-hitter in his big-league debut, Kepner writes, was Bumpus Jones of the 1892 Cincinnati Reds. Here’s more from the West divisions.
- Another emerging player, Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, has “hit the ground trotting” with a seven-home-run binge to start the season, writes ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. “He’s been so composed right from the beginning of Spring Training,” says manager Walt Weiss. “He knew he had an opportunity coming into camp, and with some kids, it’s too much for them. But with Trevor, I think it elevated his game. It brought out the best in him.” As Crasnick points out, Story probably would have played for Triple-A Albuquerque this April had it not been for Jose Reyes’ domestic-violence suspension.
- The Rangers formally announced Adrian Beltre’s two-year, $36MM extension as a press conference this afternoon. Perhaps it’s unsurprising given that the new deal takes him through his age-39 season, but Beltre says he wants to retire as a Ranger, as Stefen Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets. Of course, it’s not clear whether that means Beltre will retire when his new deal ends — he remains very productive even at 37, finishing seventh in AL MVP balloting last year and getting off to a fine .283/.340/.52 start so far in 2016.