Young catches Dirk's pitch, saves a horse

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Michael Young knew what was going to happen had he not jumped up and caught Dirk Nowitzki's high ceremonial first pitch Friday.

"He was about to take it off the snout," Young said.

Young was talking about Rangers Captain, the Texas mascot who appeared relieved to avoid a beaning. The horse could not be reached for comment.

Nowitzki came in the Rangers clubhouse prior to the game and talked with Young and the other players.

"I hadn't had a chance to talk to him personally in a while, so it was nice to congratulate him in person as opposed to sending a message," Young said. "It was good to see him. He's loving life right now and he deserves it. He's had a hell of a run."

Young said club officials told him the plan for Nowitzki to shoot the basketball and then have both players sign it so it could be auctioned off for charity.

"He came in and said, 'You know what's going on, right?' I said, 'Yeah, you're going to shoot a jumper and I'm going to knock that thing out of the sky,'" Young said, laughing.

Several players, including Young, got on Nowitzki before the pitch, telling him he couldn't throw it in the dirt.

"I said, 'Do not John Wall this thing.' He asked if he bounced it and I told him he did and it was 30 feet to the left," Young said. "He missed up. That's good. As long as we didn't draw any dirt, we're good."