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  1. NEW YORK — Forbes estimates the New York Yankees are baseball’s most valuable franchise at $5 billion, up 9% over last year and 47% more than the No. 2 Dodgers at $3.4 billion. The Yankees are second among all sports in Forbes’ evaluations to the Dallas Cowboys, listed at $5.5 billion in the last NFL ranking. The Yankees’ YES Network broadcasts Forbes “SportsMoney” television show. Related Articles MLB: 30 teams in Arizona to end coronavirus hiatus just a ‘potential option’ Report: MLB, union discuss playing all games in Arizona Dodgers will offer online workout opportunities for fans Dodgers’ SportsNet LA finally comes to DirecTV, AT&T TV Whicker: Jim Wynn Cannon-ized pitchers throughout the National League The Boston Red Sox are third at $3.3 billion, Forbes said Thursday, followed by the Chicago Cubs ($3.2 billion), San Francisco ($3.1 billion), the New York Mets ($2.4 billion), St. Louis ($2.2 billion) and Philadelphia ($2 billion). The Angels rank ninth at $1.975 billion. Miami was last at $980 million, a drop of $20 million. Also near the bottom were Kansas City ($1.025 billion), Tampa Bay ($1.05 billion), Cincinnati ($1.075 billion) and Oakland ($1.1 billion). Forbes estimates the MLB average team value rose 4% from last year to $1.85 billion, the smallest annual appreciation since a 2% rise in 2010. View the full article
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  3. FORT WORTH, Texas — Former Texas Rangers star Josh Hamilton has been indicted on a felony charge of injury to a child after his teenage daughter accused him of beating her. A Tarrant County grand jury indicted the 38-year-old Hamilton on Monday. He remains free on $30,000 bond after he turned himself in to authorities on Oct. 30. If convicted, he faces a prison sentence of two to 10 years in prison. Hamilton’s attorneys say the Texas Rangers Hall of Famer who played two seasons with the Angels is innocent of the charge. His 14-year-old daughter told her mother, Hamilton’s ex-wife, that her father struck her after he became enraged by a comment from her. According to an affidavit by a Keller Police Department detective, Hamilton’s daughter told police that he went on a rampage Sept. 30. She says she made a comment to Hamilton that upset him, so he threw a full water bottle overhand at her, hitting her in the chest, then cursed and shouted at her. He pulled away the chair on which she rested her feet and threw it, breaking the chair, she told detectives. It didn’t hit her, but he then grabbed her by the shoulders and lifted her from the chair on which she sat. She fell to the floor, and he lifted her up, threw her over his shoulder and carried her to her bedroom. The girl said at this point she was telling Hamilton, “I’m sorry.” Upon reaching her bedroom door, he tossed the teen onto her bed, pressed her face onto the mattress and began hitting her legs with an open hand and closed fist. She said that after he finished striking her, he told her, “I hope you go in front of the (expletive) judge and tell him what a terrible dad I am so I don’t have to see you anymore and you don’t have to come to my house again.” As he left the room, Hamilton’s daughter said he told her to gather her things for school. When she replied that she had already put them in the car, he responded, “Well, aren’t you just the perfect child.” After Hamilton was the first overall pick out of high school in the 1999 amateur draft by Tampa Bay, his career was nearly destroyed by cocaine and alcohol addiction. He returned to baseball with Cincinnati and made his big league debut in 2007, when he hit 19 homers in 90 games before being traded to the Rangers. He was part of their only two World Series teams (2010 and 2011) and was an All-Star five seasons in a row. An awe-inspiring display in the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium in 2008 was a highlight of his career, when the first-time All-Star led the American League with 130 RBI while hitting .304 with 32 homers in his first full season. He hit four homers in the 2010 AL Championship Series and had a four-homer game at Baltimore in 2012. Hamilton left the Rangers in free agency, signing a $125 million, five-year deal with the Angels before the 2013 season. He was recovering from shoulder surgery when the Angels traded him back to Texas in 2015 after his two injury-plagued seasons with Los Angeles. He played 50 games for Texas in 2015 but never again after he underwent surgery at least three times afterward. View the full article
  4. As has been mentioned already, Mike Trout’s greatness is largely the result of his well-rounded game: he’s a bonafide .300 hitter (career .305 BA, five of eight years above .300), a prodigious power hitter (six of eight seasons of 30+ HR, career .581 SLG), steals bases (averaging almost 25 per season), and is a good defender. But perhaps the key to the entire mix is his plate discipline. Trout is known for his ability to work the count, his pitch recognition, and a rather selflessly patient approach that leads to a ton of walks. #18a: Walks Through Age 27 Mickey Mantle 892 Eddie Yost 874 Mel Ott 803 Mike Trout 803 Jimmie Foxx 781 As you can see, Trout 4th through age 27, behind Mantle--a very similar player (which we'll look at later)--and a few high walk players who all started very young. Foxx and Ott are well-known Hall of Famers, while Yost is not. As an aside, he was an interesting and rather rare player: he drew 100 walks--123 or more, actually--eight times in his career, leading the AL five times. His career triple-slash was .254/.394/.371, meaning he walked a ton but didn't hit for a high average, never hitting .300, and had little power, only surpassing 12 HR once (21 in 1959, near the end of his career). He also didn't steal bases, meaning he was a one-tool player--drawing walks--but one of the best all-time. #18b: 100-walk seasons through Age 27 Back to Trout, let's look at those walks from a different angle. Only three players have had more 100-walk seasons through their age 27 season: 5 Adam Dunn, Frank Thomas, Eddie Yost 4 Harlond Clift, Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Charlie Keller, Mickey Mantle, Mike Schmidt, Mike Trout, Ted Williams #19: On-base Percentage The walks and .300 BA translates to a .419 career OBP, which is 21st all-time, 26th through age 27. That might not be as high as you’d expect, although this is largely on account of overall lower BA in recent years. Trout is 2nd among active players, behind only Joey Votto (.421), and tied for third with Frank Thomas over the last 60 years, behind Votto and Barry Bonds (.444). Slugging Percentage Moving away from plate discipline, Trout is even better known for his power. We already discussed his home run totals in a previous installment, but what about slugging? How does Trout's ability to generate total bases per at-bat compare to other players? #20a: Career SLG Babe Ruth .690 Ted Williams .634 Lou Gehrig .632 Jimmie Foxx .609 Barry Bonds .607 Hank Greenberg .605 Mark McGwire .588 Manny Ramirez .585 Mike Trout .581 Joe DiMaggio .579 As you can see, Trout currently has the 9th highest career SLG. Remember that this is not equalized for era or context, and all of those players played during higher run-scoring contexts. Through age 27, he's at #15 all-time--not as high, but still impressive. Let's make it more specific, though, and narrow it to contemporary young players: #20b: SLG 1970-2019, Through Age 27 Todd Helton .622 Albert Pujols .620 Ryan Howard .610 Frank Thomas .593 Vladimir Guerrero .588 Mike Trout .581 Alex Rodriguez .581 Manny Ramirez .576 Nomar Garciaparra .570 Ryan Braun .563 Notice the list of players? Every single one of them played in the inflated offense era (1993-2009) and/or was a known steroid user. This is not to indict any of those players, but to point out that Trout's only company of the last half-century in terms of SLG are players whose numbers are inflated by a very different context. View the full article
  5. Even as Major League Baseball remains on hold and floating ideas for a return in May, Angels left-hander Shohei Ohtani is in the final stages of his rehab from Tommy John surgery and could start throwing off a mound “soon,” according to pitching coach Mickey Callaway. “He’s throwing out to 180 feet, long-tossing a little further than that, then coming back in to 60 feet and really letting it go,” Callaway said by way of update Tuesday. “So he’ll get off a mound soon. Right now, with him especially, we’re just taking it day by day especially during this quarantine thing. But he’ll be getting off a mound soon. “We’ll see the timing of everything, whether he’s going to be ready whenever we resume. But his arm is feeling great and the ball is coming out great at this point.” Ohtani underwent the elbow surgery in October 2018 and the Angels had targeted mid-May for a return to pitching this season, though he would have been ready to DH sooner than that. Callaway wouldn’t speculate on how many throwing sessions Ohtani would need off a pitcher’s mound before he would be ready to face hitters – likely in simulated-game or batting practice settings first. He did say Ohtani’s throwing shows he is he healthy and his readiness to throw off a mound “is imminent.” But the uncertainty surrounding baseball’s return date has put all pitchers in a “suspended holding pattern” as Callaway put it. “It would probably be unfair to Shohei or anybody to give a certain amount of bullpens,” Callaway said. “He’s going to need some of them. I know that is a very vague answer. But I think it would be unfair to pigeon-hole ourselves. “If he’s able to throw out to 180 feet, long-tossing that far, the one thing we do know is he’s healthy and we’ll be able to figure it out from there.” Right-hander Griffin Canning, meanwhile, has resumed his throwing program and is “making about 50 throws a day out to 75 feet,” according to Callaway. Canning was shut down in early March due to soreness in his right elbow. He was diagnosed with “chronic changes” in the ulnar collateral ligament but no tear to the ligament. He received a platelet-rich plasma injection and would have opened the season on the Injured List if MLB had started on time. Callaway said he has been able to stay in contact with his pitching staff during this period of self-quarantining via Zoom and group texts and is confident they will be ready to go whenever MLB announces a new schedule for the 2020 season. In fact, he said a compressed season might favor the Angels. Related Articles MLB: 30 teams in Arizona to end coronavirus hiatus just a ‘potential option’ Report: MLB, union discuss playing all games in Arizona Angels counting on catchers’ pitch-framing skills to boost pitching staff Angels release failed prospect Roberto Baldoquin Angels Q&A: Could the team lose a year of Anthony Rendon’s deal? “There’s no doubt we have depth and we have more than five starters that can pitch in the big leagues and do it successfully,” Callaway said, referring to a group that includes Andrew Heaney, Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran as well as Ohtani and Canning. “That is probably going to be something that is going to benefit us when we come back because I would assume we’re going to try to play as many games in a short time period as possible. “So having six, seven guys deep who can start – especially if you’re playing doubleheaders and things like that – it’s going to be very beneficial for us and should give us an advantage over most because we are so deep and so talented in those six spots.” View the full article
  6. It’s just an idea. Multiple sources reported Monday that Major League Baseball and its players’ union had discussed a plan to start the 2020 season as early as May by moving all 30 teams to Arizona where games would be played in the 10 spring training ballparks there as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks’ home stadium, Chase Field, and possibly college facilities. No fans would be allowed and players would live in virtual isolation — going only from the ballpark to their hotel and back — possibly for as long as four months. Pushback came almost immediately as some players reacted with disapproval on social media. In response to the negative backlash from media as well, MLB released a statement Tuesday morning acknowledging the plan had been discussed but emphasizing the discussions were quite preliminary. “MLB has been actively considering numerous contingency plans that would allow play to commence once the public health situation has improved to the point that it is safe to do so,” the statement read. “While we have discussed the idea of staging games at one location as one potential option, we have not settled on that option or developed a detailed plan.” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was one of several sports leaders who joined President Trump on a conference call Sunday to discuss issues surrounding the current shutdown of sports leagues. But the statement released Tuesday said MLB has “not sought or received approval of any plan from federal, state and local officials or the Players Association.” Approval from the players’ union is just one of many hurdles MLB would have to overcome to put a one-state solution into practice. Given the limited availability of testing for the coronavirus, clearing players and staff from 30 teams before convening in Arizona would be difficult. Scheduling multiple games at open-air ballparks in the 100-degree plus temperatures of a desert summer presents another hurdle. Networks starved for content with sports shutdown would no doubt welcome the return of live games. But staffing and producing those shows from spring training facilities create another set of issues. “The health and safety of our employees, players, fans and the public at large are paramount and we are not ready at this time to endorse any particular format for staging games in light of the rapidly changing public health situation caused by the coronavirus,” MLB said in its statement Tuesday. View the full article
  7. NEW YORK (AP) — Putting all 30 teams in the Phoenix area and playing in empty ballparks was among the ideas discussed Monday by Major League Baseball and the players’ association. The sides held a telephone call to talk about paths forward for a season delayed by the new coronavirus pandemic, people familiar with the discussion told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because no details were announced. Ideas are still in the early stage, and the Arizona option would have many obstacles to overcome, the people said. Half of the MLB clubs hold spring training in Arizona, the other half in Florida. Arizona’s advantage is 10 spring training ballparks plus the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field all within about 50 miles. Florida’s spring training ballparks are spread by as much as 220 miles. “It allows for immediacy of a schedule, where you might be able to begin it and televise it, provide Major League Baseball to America,” said Scott Boras, baseball’s most prominent agent. “I think players are willing to do what’s necessary because I think they understand the importance of baseball for their own livelihoods and for the interest of our country and providing a necessary product that gives all the people that are isolated enjoyment.” “It gives them a sense of a return to some normalcy,” Boras added. “You talk to a psychologist about it and they say it’s it’s really good for a culture to have to have sport and to have a focus like that, where for a few hours a day they can take their minds off the difficult reality of the virus.” Baseball’s season had been set to start March 26 but spring training was halted on March 12. After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended restricting events of more than 50 people for eight weeks, MLB said it would not open until mid-May at the earliest. Texas Rangers president of baseball operations Jon Daniels said MLB is examining different options and he didn’t want to speculate. “But, obviously, we’d all love to find a way to play, provided we could do safely, and that would be the priority,” he said. The players’ association would want to survey its members to determine whether they would support such a plan, one of the people said. “You’re going to be largely separated from your families and you’re going to have to function in a very contained way. It’s not it’s not a normal life, this idea,” Boras said. “You’re going to have an identified group of people. You’re going to have a constantly tested group of people. And you’re going to have a very limited access of those people to the outside world so that you can assure a very uncontaminated league, if you will, to produce a product that is inspirational to our country.” Chase Field, with artificial turf and a retractable roof, could be the site of daily tripleheaders, Boras said. MLB and the union reached a deal March 26 to advance $170 million in salary to players for the first 60 days of the season. As part of the deal, players would get only prorated portions of their salaries if the regular season is cut from its usual 162 games and would receive no additional salary if the season is scrapped. Both sides have agreed to attempt to play as full a season as is possible, and this plan would enable to season to start while waiting for health and government officials determine whether it is safe to resume play in regular-season ballparks, with the travel that would entail. View the full article
  8. In retrospect, Angels fans are certainly all longing for the days when their primary concern was if the team had acquired enough pitching to contend this season. A winter of hand-wringing about the Angels missing out on marquee pitching acquisitions has given way to a spring of wondering if the coronavirus pandemic would subside soon enough for there even to be a baseball season. In between, though, during a month of spring training in Arizona, the Angels had grown quietly optimistic that they had found at least part of a solution to their pitching issues … at the other end. In order to get more value out of the pitchers throwing the ball, the Angels have two of the best at catching it. Max Stassi, acquired last July, and Jason Castro, who was signed as a free agent in January, have been among the best pitch-framers in the majors for the past few years. Assuming the season begins eventually, the Angels are banking on them making a difference. “It’s huge,” Andrew Heaney said shortly before the COVID-19 shutdown. “Obviously, anytime you can steal some extra strikes, that’s a big thing.” General Manager Billy Eppler said he and his counterparts have placed an increased emphasis on pitch-framing over the past decade simply because it is something a catcher does far more often than throwing or blocking. “It’s an area that doesn’t jump off the page or jump off the screen, but if you have a catcher who you know can present a ball well and receive a ball well, that gives confidence to your pitchers and could potentially move a count from 2-1 to 1-2,” Eppler said. The 1-and-1 pitch is often the fulcrum of discussion about framing because statistically there’s a huge difference in outcomes depending which way that pitch goes. Last year, hitters had an .828 OPS after a 2-and-1 count, compared with .518 after a 1-and-2 count. That adds up to a guy like Stassi being able to comfortably have a job in the big leagues. According to FanGraphs, of the catchers who have caught at least 1,000 innings over the past four years, Castro ranks ninth in framing runs and Stassi ranks 11th. However, it’s a cumulative stat, and Stassi has barely caught 1,000 innings, while all the catchers ahead of him have caught at least 2,500. “I take a lot of pride in that,” Stassi said. “You want to be really well-rounded, but I think that framing is extremely important.” Not coincidentally, Castro and Stassi both came about their proficiency at framing from the same place. Both were with the Houston Astros in 2013 when they had a meeting in spring training with Mike Fast, whom the club had hired to its analytics department a couple of years earlier. A former author for Baseball Prospectus, Fast had been among the first to publicly quantify the value of pitch-framing. “They got all the catchers together and they had a presentation about the importance of keeping the ball in the zone,” Stassi said. “How a lot of guys take pitches out of the zone, and just the impact that has on the course of a game.” Castro actually bristles somewhat at the term “framing,” because it implies deceit of the umpire, or trying to steal strikes on pitches that are out of the zone. In reality, he said he is much more focused on not losing any strikes. Catcher Jason Castro, acquired by the Angels in January, says part of his job is to “reward the pitcher as often as possible for doing his job” by getting pitches called as strikes. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) Castro said catchers who move their glove too much to try to sneak borderline pitches into the zone can actually hurt the pitcher. When the catcher moves his glove perceptibly, he is essentially telling the umpire that he doesn’t think the pitch is a strike. The most difficult and important part of framing, Castro said, is to catch a breaking ball that is moving out of the zone in such a way that the umpire can call it a strike if it clips the zone. “My job is to keep strikes strikes,” Castro said. “I mean, that’s really what I’m trying to do: Reward the pitcher as often as possible for doing his job. Everything outside of that is kind of like cherry on top, if you can get some extra pitches.” For all of the effort that Castro and Stassi have put into pitch-framing, they both acknowledge the elephant in the room. By all accounts, the electronic strike zone is coming eventually. There is no need for framing if a high-speed camera, rather than a human, is tracking the baseball. “I don’t think it’s good for baseball,” Stassi said. “I think that the history of the game has been a certain way. You know, no one’s perfect and I’m not a fan of it for many reasons. I just think that it would completely change the game. It would change the way that pitchers pitch, the way that catchers catch.” For example, Stassi said with a runner on first catchers would probably just set up in a throwing position, with one foot behind the other. Or they might start on one knee to focus on blocking. Catchers equipment might even change because of different ways they would set up, Stassi said. Pitchers and hitters would need to get used to different pitches called strikes, like breaking balls that seem too high or low but nick the top or bottom of the zone. “I don’t think it’s as clear as what people think that the electronic strike zone (would be better),” Stassi said. “A lot more hitters would be upset, I think. I just don’t think it’s good for baseball.” Castro is also skeptical that an electronic strike zone would be good for the game, and he suggested there are still some “kinks in the system” that would need to be ironed out before it’s even worth considering. “It could alter how the position is evaluated,” Castro said. “That’s such a major part of what the position is right now. So, it’ll be interesting to see what happens.” In the meantime, as long as humans are still calling the balls and strikes, the Angels are thrilled that they have a chance to give their pitchers a boost by having Castro and Stassi behind the plate. Related Articles Angels release failed prospect Roberto Baldoquin Angels Q&A: Could the team lose a year of Anthony Rendon’s deal? Former Angel Jim Edmonds tested positive for coronavirus, but is now symptom-free Angels’ Griffin Canning cleared to resume throwing Angels’ Andrew Heaney bides his time during coronavirus quarantine Pitching coach Mickey Callaway, whose mantra all spring was for his pitchers to throw more strikes, said having quality framers makes a big difference. “It’s big,” Callaway said. “You want to steal those extra 10 percent strikes if you can. That’s 10 pitches a game that can go in your favor. We want to turn that 2-1 count into a 1-2 count. That’s the key. If we control 10 more at-bats and get ahead because we’re framing well, that’s maybe two hits instead of three in those 10 at-bats. That’s something that’s very important. “We take that very seriously here, and it helps the pitchers. The pitchers love (good pitch-framers). And the good thing is, we have two of them.” View the full article
  9. APRIL 5, 2002 GAME 4 - ANGELS AT RANGERS By Joe Haakenson, AngelsWin.com Contributor ARLINGTON, Tex. -- Scott Schoeneweis did Friday what Jarrod Washburn, Kevin Appier and Aaron Sele could not in the Angels' first three games of the season -- pitch into the sixth inning. In fact, Schoeneweis went a few steps further, going into the ninth inning and leading the Angels to a 3-1 victory over the dangerous Texas Rangers Friday afternoon before Vice President Dick Cheney and a sellout crowd of 49,617 at The Ballpark in Arlington. While his fellow starters needed around 100 pitches to get through five, Schoeneweis walked off the mound with one out in the ninth having made 99 pitches. He gave up one run and five hits, struck out six and walked only one. The Rangers' murderers' row of Alex Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro and Ivan Rodriguez combined to go 2 for 12 with four strikeouts against Schoeneweis. Alex Rodriguez struck out three times himself, including taking a called third strike in the ninth inning that caused him to slam his bat to the ground. ''I don't know what happened to us,'' Rodriguez said. ''He took it to us. Our thing is, I think we were too aggressive.'' Schoeneweis kept the Rangers off balance by changing speeds and throwing fewer sinkers, his primary pitch. ''We mixed it up,'' catcher Bengie Molina said. ''They all know he throws a sinker, but we mixed in a fastball and changeup. We got 'em by surprise. Last year he didn't have a changeup.'' Schoeneweis entered the ninth inning and gave up a leadoff double to Gabe Kapler. He struck out Alex Rodriguez looking on a slider and was taken out of the game. Al Levine came in and retired Gonzalez on a groundout and Palmeiro on a flyout to earn his first save. ''I've learned once (Scioscia) steps out of the dugout, there's no discussion,'' Schoeneweis said of coming out of the game. ''It was for the best.'' ''That was a great performance,'' Scioscia said. ''You have to understand that's a very powerful offense, there's not much leeway. He made great pitches all day, he changed speeds well, and we played good defense behind him.'' For a while, though, Schoeneweis' performance appeared as though it might not be good enough. Rangers starter Ismael Valdes, who went 9-13 for the Angels last season, shut out the Angels on two singles through six innings. When Valdes took the mound to start the seventh, the Angels had not even moved a baserunner as far as second base. ''Ismael pitched a terrific ballgame,'' Scioscia said. ''One thing about today's game is he didn't use his breaking ball as much. But his fastball command was as good as I've seen it.'' The Angels finally got to him when Tim Salmon led off the seventh inning with a double to left. One out later, Troy Glaus homered to left on a 1-2 pitch to give the Angels the lead for good. Molina added an RBI single in the ninth off reliever Colby Lewis. ''He's absolutely getting better,'' Scioscia said of Glaus. ''He understands the big picture of a guy in the middle of the lineup and what he has to bring. He's done a great job in RBI situations this year.'' The Rangers' only run came home in the second inning after Gonzalez singled, went to third on a double by Palmeiro and scored on Carl Everett's sacrifice fly. After that, no Ranger reached second base until Kapler's double in the ninth. Schoeneweis believes adding the changeup was the difference. ''I think there was a little bit of uncertainty, a little bit of surprise,'' Schoeneweis said. ''Hitters will look for a certain pitch in a certain area at a certain speed. That's not how I want to get hitters out. ''That's a tough lineup. When you've got Carl Everett hitting seventh, that's a pretty good indication.'' NOTEBOOK ARLINGTON, Tex. -- Already playing short-handed because of the suspension to Scott Spiezio and the injury to Troy Percival, the Angels suffered another blow Friday when first baseman Benji Gil had to leave the game in the first inning with a sprained left ankle. After the game, the Angels placed Gil and Percival on the 15-day disabled list. Percival, bothered by a strained intercostal muscle on his right side for the past three weeks, last pitched on April 2 and will be eligible to return on April 18. Al Levine and Ben Weber are most likely to get the call to pitch the ninth in a save situation. Percival and Scioscia insist they aren't worried that the injury will become a long-term ordeal, and they say they don't expect the right-hander to end up on the disabled list. He'll be re-evaluated on Monday. The injury has lingered for weeks, as Percival said he first hurt himself March 14 in a spring training game against the Rockies. He pitched six more times during the spring, and then again on Tuesday, when he pitched the ninth and got a save. After Percival hurt himself initially, the Angels thought he could pitch through it. But when treatment didn't fix the problem, the tests were ordered. After the MRI revealed the strain, Percival said he wasn't surprised. ''It's consistent with what I thought it was,'' he said. ''But it's too early in the year to go out there and try to pitch through it. I'll take three or four days and get back to 100 percent. If this was September, I could go out and pitch.'' Conscious of the injury, Percival said he threw at about 90 percent in last Tuesday's game against the Indians, throwing his fastball at 92-94 mph, below his typical 95-98 mph. He gave up a leadoff homer to Russell Branyan before getting the final three outs. Scioscia and the Angels seemed relieved with the diagnosis. ''It could have been a lot worse,'' Scioscia said. ''When you hear the word 'MRI' you think the worst, it's almost like a curse. But this is something that's fixable, and fixable on a short-term basis.'' Gil, who is eligible to return April 21, hurt his ankle in a play at first base against the Rangers. Gil fielded a slow grounder hit by Rusty Greer leading off the bottom of the first. Gil was too far from the bag, so he tagged Greer, who slid into Gil's ankle. Gil remained in the game as Gabe Kapler flied out to center for the second out. But with a 1-2 count on Alex Rodriguez, Gil limped off the field. ''It swelled up like a balloon,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ''We're going to give him some time.'' Gil was taken to a nearby hospital for X-rays, which were negative. Utility player Clay Bellinger and right-handed reliever Brendan Donnelly have been called up from Triple-A Salt Lake and will join the team Saturday. Donnelly was 0-1 with a 4.80 ERA in 12 spring games, while Bellinger, who played with the Yankees the previous three seasons, hit .261 this spring. * The Angels had hoped left-handed reliever Dennis Cook (bruised ribs) would be ready to come off the disabled list by Saturday, but he is not ready. Cook will throw off the mound Saturday, and if he comes out of it OK he could be activated early next week when the team returns to Anaheim. * Rangers pitcher Ismael Valdes gave up two runs and five hits in eight innings against his former teammates. But like so many games in his past, he got the loss when the offense didn't support him. ''I was nervous,'' Valdes said. ''I was pitching in the first opening day game of my career against my former teammates. But it was a great game for me. My control was good. My off-speed pitches were working well today. I'm just trying to keep our team in the game and get the victory. I can't control the offense.'' View the full article
  10. APRIL 3, 2002 GAME 3 - INDIANS AT ANGELS ANAHEIM -- Cleveland Indians starter Chuck Finley was unable to make his scheduled start against the Angels Wednesday night so he could tend to family matters after his wife, actress Tawny Kitaen, was arrested on charges of spousal abuse and battery. Finley has 189 career wins, while his replacement Ryan Drese went into the game with one. But what looked like a break for the Angels instead worked in the Indians' favor, as Drese out-pitched Angels starter Aaron Sele in a 6-5 Indians victory before 18,194 at Edison Field. The Angels made things interesting by scoring two runs in the bottom of the ninth. But with the potential tying run on second base, Indians closer Bob Wickman struck out Troy Glaus to end it. Sele's debut with the Angels wasn't unlike the starts of Jarrod Washburn and Kevin Appier in the first two games of the season. Like Washburn and Appier, Sele lasted only five innings and made a lot of pitches -- 99. He wasn't terrible, but he wasn't good either. The Indians got eight hits off him, scored four runs and had at least one baserunner in every inning he pitched. Sele also had trouble getting the big out, as the Indians scored three of their four runs against him with two out. ''It was just one of those days,'' said Sele (0-1), who began last season with eight consecutive wins for the Mariners. ''I got the ball up and was battling it the whole game. You get the ball up to good hitters, they'll put the ball in play and that's what they did.'' Sele walked three, struck out two and fell to 5-8 against the Indians in his career. ''Right now it looks like our starters are having trouble getting their feet on the ground and pitching deep into games,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ''We know that'll flip-flop.'' Meanwhile, Drese escaped a first-inning jam having allowed only one run, then settled into a groove and lasted 5 2/3 innings. It was only his fifth career major league start, but he gave up just three runs and earned his second career major league victory. ''We knew he had a very good arm,'' Scioscia said. ''It was a gutty performance. In the first inning we had him on the ropes.'' In the first inning the Angels loaded the bases with nobody out on a single by Eckstein and walks to Darin Erstad and Tim Salmon. Garret Anderson popped to short for the first out. Glaus then lined a single to right field, but because the ball was hit so hard the runners advanced only one base, with Eckstein scoring. Brad Fullmer followed with a hard-hit one-hopper to second baseman Ricky Gutierrez, who began a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play. The Indians offense finished with 11 hits, including two each by Matt Lawton, Omar Vizquel, Brady Anderson and Gutierrez. The Angels also had 11 hits, two each by David Eckstein, Glaus and Bengie Molina. The Indians went ahead for good in the second inning getting four hits off Sele. Russell Branyan drove in one with a single and Lawton drove home two more with a two-out double for a 3-1 lead. Down 6-3 in the ninth, the Angels put together a rally against Wickman, starting with Adam Kennedy's leadoff double. He went to third on Eckstein's groundout, and after Erstad walked, Salmon singled to drive in Kennedy, moving Erstad to third. Anderson followed and swung at the first pitch, grounding out to second to score Erstad and move pinch runner Jeff DaVanon to second. But on a 3-2 count, Wickman struck out Glaus with a splitter, allowing the Indians to take two of three in the series. NOTEBOOK ANAHEIM -- Indians pitcher Chuck Finley, scheduled to start Wednesday's game against the Angels, was scratched from the lineup ''to take care of his family,'' according to Indians general manager Mark Shapiro. Finley's wife, actress Tawny Kitaen, was charged Wednesday with spousal abuse and battery for allegedly attacking him while the two drove home to Newport Beach from dinner on Monday night. ''She kicked him in the thigh, in the leg, in the arm, she grabbed his ear and twisted it,'' said Tori Richards, spokeswoman for the Orange County district attorney's office. ''At one point, her high-heel shoe was on top of his foot pressing the accelerator to the ground.'' According to Richards, after the couple arrived home a third party called 911. Police arrested Kitaen after they noticed abrasions and scrapes on Finley. Kitaen, who since marrying Finley in 1997 has gone by her given name of Julie, was released from Orange County Jail on Wednesday. If convicted of the two misdemeanor counts, Kitaen, 40, faces up to a year in jail and a $6,000 fine. A judge also issued a restraining order against Kitaen, ordering her to have no contact with Finley. Kitaen will continue to live in the couple's Newport Beach home. Finley, who signed with the Indians in 2000 after 14 seasons with the Angels, lives in the Ritz Carlton in downtown Cleveland when the team is home. Following Monday night's incident, Finley attended Tuesday's game at Edison Field. Indians manager Charlie Manuel said Finley ''seemed fine.'' But Finley called Shapiro Wednesday afternoon and said he couldn't pitch in the game. It would have been Finley's first start of the season. ''He did not feel like he'd make it to the ballpark,'' Shapiro said. ''And if he did he wouldn't be able to pitch. He's just trying to take care of his kids and family right now. ''My attitude is, he's the same as any player in our organization. Everyone has issues outside of being a major league player that you have to deal with in life. What he's going through is the regular ups and downs people go through in their personal lives. But it's tough to go through it when you're in an environment like this.'' Shapiro said he expects Finley to rejoin the team this weekend in Detroit. * Closer Troy Percival underwent an MRI and bone scan Wednesday because of lingering discomfort in his mid-section. Percival was diagnosed with a strained right intercostal muscle and will be out at least until Monday, when he'll be reevaluated. Before the results of the tests were known, Percival, who earned a save Tuesday night, wasn't concerned: ''It's no big story, it's something that's been bothering me for about three weeks. It's more for peace of mind.'' Percival said he first felt the discomfort pitching against Colorado in a spring training game in mid-March, but he ''tried to pitch through it.'' Percival's velocity on Tuesday was down to the 92-94 mph range, below his normal 95-98 mph. ''I haven't been able to jump on a pitch 100 percent,'' he said. ''It's been more like 90 percent.'' * Left-handed reliever Dennis Cook (bruised ribs) will throw in the season opener for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga today. If all goes well, Cook could be activated from the disabled list on Saturday. … ... The Angels are off Thursday and will begin a three-game series in Texas starting Friday. The Associated Press contributed to this story. View the full article
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  12. APRIL 2, 2002 GAME 2 - INDIANS AT ANGELS By Joe Haakenson, AngelsWin.com Contributor ANAHEIM -- Kevin Appier's first start as an Angel won't be one to tell the grandkids about years from now, but the end result was one the Angels will gladly accept. Appier, who came to the Angels from the Mets in a trade for Mo Vaughn Dec. 27, bobbed and weaved his way through five innings in the Angels' 7-5 victory over the Cleveland Indians Tuesday night before 20,055 at Edison Field. Appier gave up four runs (two earned) and four hits while making 106 pitches, which helped to cut short his first night in Angel red. The win, though, was more a result of the bullpen and the offense, which scored five runs with two outs. Ben Weber (two scoreless innings), Al Levine (one scoreless inning) and Troy Percival (first save) combined to throw four innings in relief of Appier, allowing one run and two hits. Russell Branyan homered off Percival in the ninth for the only run. The Angels got most of their offense from the top of the lineup, where David Eckstein and Darin Erstad combined for five hits, two stolen bases, four runs and three RBIs. Eckstein had three hits, scored three runs, stole a base and made an outstanding defensive play. Even Troy Glaus went to the opposite field, hitting a two-run double to right-center field in the seventh inning, providing the margin for victory. The Angels stole three bases and ran the bases aggressively all night. It was the type of offense Angels manager Mike Scioscia stressed during spring training. ''That's my style,'' Erstad said. ''Grind it out, scratch and claw, do the little things to win. A lot of guys did that today. We're going to win a lot of ballgames if we keep doing it.'' The game-winning run, though, came courtesy of Indians second baseman Ricky Gutierrez, who is taking over for Roberto Alomar (traded to the Mets). With two out in the sixth inning and the game tied at 4, Gutierrez dropped Bengie Molina's routine pop fly, allowing Glaus to score from third and give the Angels the lead for good. After being shut out by Bartolo Colon in their opener, the Angels got on the scoreboard in the first inning against Indians starter C.C. Sabathia. With one out, Erstad singled and stole second. Tim Salmon followed with an RBI double and 1-0 Angels lead. Appier made a lot of pitches in the first two innings (41) but didn't allow any runs or hits. In the third, though, Omar Vizquel had an RBI triple and Ellis Burks had an RBI single to give Cleveland a 2-1 lead, as Appier's pitch count continued to rise. He made 71 pitches through three innings, 83 through four. ''I didn't think I threw all that badly,'' Appier said. ''They made things really tough, working counts and taking pitches. Really, they were super disciplined at the plate.'' In the fifth, though, the defense betrayed Appier. With one out and no one on base, Matt Lawton hit a hard grounder to Eckstein at shortstop. Eckstein knocked the ball down, picked it up and threw in time to get Lawton. But Lawton was ruled safe because first baseman Benji Gil pulled his foot off the bag. Gil was charged with an error. It was a costly error, because the Indians went on to score two unearned runs in the inning. Burks drove in the first with an RBI single on a hit-and-run play, and Jim Thome drove in the second with a sacrifice fly. ''His pitch count was extremely high for the fifth inning, but Ape battled and made good pitches,'' Scioscia said. ''We didn't help him much with the error, but Ape kept us in the game.'' The Angels got the runs back in the bottom of the fifth by putting together a rally after two were out and no one was on base. Adam Kennedy drew a walk and stole second, and Eckstein followed with an RBI single to right field, cutting their deficit to 4-3. Erstad then ripped a double into the right-field corner, scoring Eckstein from first to tie the game at 4. ''Everybody wants to do it, and we definitely have to do it,'' Eckstein said of manufacturing runs. ''When you have a team that wants to do it, it makes you better. If you move runners over it makes it easier for the next guy.'' The Angels went ahead for good in the sixth scoring the unearned run on Gutierrez's error. The only hit of the inning was Brad Fullmer's first as an Angel. With Glaus (walk) on first and two outs, Fullmer singled to right, sending Glaus to third. Molina followed with the popup that was dropped. NOTEBOOK ANAHEIM -- The Angels decided during the offseason that they'd be better off spending money on offense, so they let reliable reliever Shigetoshi Hasegawa leave. That opened the door for a variety of the organization's younger pitchers to try to win a job in the bullpen. Bart Miadich, Brendan Donnelly and Matt Wise were among those in the mix, but ultimately it was veteran Donne Wall who won the job during spring training. Wall pitched two perfect innings in his Angel debut on Sunday night, a good start in his effort to bounce back from a bad season in 2001 with the Mets. Wall was 0-4 with a 4.85 ERA in 32 appearances last year while battling through shoulder problems. ''I was very frustrated,'' Wall said. ''I tried to stay as positive as I could, but physically, my body wasn't doing what it was used to.'' Wall, 34, is healthy again, and the Angels are hoping that he returns to the form he showed from 1998-2000 with the Padres, when he served as closer Trevor Hoffman's set-up man. In those three seasons Wall went 17-10 with a 2.92 ERA. ''Our job in the bullpen is to get the ball to (closer) Troy (Percival) with the lead,'' he said. ''It doesn't matter if you come in in the third inning or the eighth, just get the ball to Troy.'' * Left-handed reliever Dennis Cook made 31 pitches during a simulated game Monday at Rancho Cucamonga, the Angels' Single-A affiliate. Cook, on the disabled list with bruised ribs, will throw again in the Quakes' season-opener on Thursday. If all goes well, Cook could be activated by Saturday in Texas. ''Oh yeah, I've been antsy,'' Cook said. ''I think I'm close.'' Cook, 39, was injured during the Angels' March 9 fight with the San Diego Padres. Starter Ramon Ortiz, in staying on a five-day pitching schedule, threw 90 pitches in a simulated game Monday at Rancho Cucamonga. He'll make his first start of the season Saturday in Texas. * Manager Mike Scioscia said the Angels' opening day dud should be something from which the players can learn. ''Opening day is probably as close as you're going to get to a playoff atmosphere,'' he said. ''You'd like the guys to use the experience to get used to it. Opening day is part of the season and the fanfare is part of the package. You want to use that energy for something positive because there might be a time during the season or in the playoffs when you'll be in the same situation.'' View the full article
  13. While waiting to see if and when the coronavirus shutdown will end and the MLB season will begin, we took some Angels questions via Twitter on Wednesday. If no season is to be played does (Anthony) Rendon have just six years left on the contract? Or seven still? I’m assuming six since Betts will be free agent this offseason. Sucks to be Dodgers if that happens. — @mattyball71 Anthony Rendon’s contract covers the 2020 to 2026 seasons, specifically, so if there is no 2020 season, the Angels simply lose a year of Rendon’s contract. Of course, they also won’t have to pay him his full salary in 2020, so they get some relief in that way. How many games do you think would be too little to even consider playing the season at all? — @TinaTigerl18 You would think that you would need at least 100 games or so for the season to be considered legitimate, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they play as few as 75. Most of the money from TV comes from the playoffs, so MLB is going to do whatever it can to still have the playoffs, even if they follow a significantly shortened season. Being optimistic that there will be baseball by Summer. How are (Shohei) Ohtani and (Griffin) Canning? — @dweinberger66 As of last week, Shohei Ohtani was throwing and still on track to be ready to pitch whenever the season begins. Griffin Canning was cleared this week to resume throwing, about four weeks after undergoing a platelet-rich plasma injection in his elbow. He could be on the mound by the end of April, and could be ready by the time the season starts. Which pitcher, not named Shohei, do you think will be a boost to our rotation and/or bullpen? — @Br3nd0714 I think the biggest potential improvement to the pitching staff might have come from Keynan Middleton. Middleton lost some velocity on his fastball when he came back from Tommy John surgery late in 2019, but in spring training he was again throwing 96-97 mph. He’s been very good when he’s been healthy, and he potentially gives the Angels three closer-caliber relievers, along with Hansel Robles and Ty Buttrey. A dominating bullpen can cover up a lot of issues with the rotation. Do you think there’s any possibility the Angels get rid of either Simba (Andrelton Simmons), (David) Fletcher, or (Tommy) La Stella for a pitcher above Junior Varsity level? — @RockyFalboa Andrelton Simmons and La Stella are both set to be free agents at the end of the 2020 season, so their value would be limited in terms of acquiring a front-line pitcher, even if there would have been a full season. Fletcher, on the other hand, could definitely be an attractive piece to help the Angels get a pitcher, if they were inclined to move him. With a possible lost season can AP (Albert Pujols) still get to 700 (home runs)? — @DeliriousDrew84 If there are no games in 2020, it will be just about impossible for Albert Pujols to reach 700 homers. He is currently at 656, so he needs another 44 homers. He isn’t hitting 44 homers in a single season at age 41 in 2021. Even if they play half a season in 2020, it will be tough (to reach 700), based on his age and the trajectory of his performance. Pujols was healthy the entire 2019 season, and he hit 23 homers. When the season starts, will the date correspond with the previous schedule? Or will we start from scratch against Houston? — @GeorgeKittle11 The schedule is a very complicated web, so restarting it would be virtually impossible. When the season started late in 1995, after the strike ended, they simply picked up the schedule where it was in late April. Wherever they pick it up, they’ll need to tweak it to make sure teams have the same number of games, and the same number of home and road games, but I suspect they would simply add games to existing series were they are off days now. How does a shortened, or even canceled, season affect (GM) Billy Eppler’s job? Would he have a better chance of getting an extension or a worse chance? — @FletchSZNN Only team owner Arte Moreno truly knows the answer to that one. If Moreno had decided before the season even began that this was going to be Eppler’s last year as general manager, then perhaps he could still make a change at the end of the season, regardless of what happens. However, if Moreno was truly waiting to judge Eppler based on what happened in 2020, then it would seem like he would at least give him a one-year extension if there is no 2020 season. Do you think MLB will change the playoff format now that all other leagues have at least 14 teams in the playoffs now and MLB is still at 10? — @WillieJ2323 The idea floated during spring training – six teams playing best-of-three series and one getting a first-round bye in each league – was probably going to happen, perhaps as soon as 2021, from my understanding. The TV partners like it, and the players like it, so that’s reason enough for it to happen. As for what happens in 2020, it’s anyone’s guess. It seems likely that they will do something besides the standard playoff system, just because extra playoff games would help make up some of the lost revenue from the shortened season. What’s your best lineup for this team? — @EricSpitz As a matter of fact, Strat-O-Matic has been running a simulation of the season using its computer game and I’ve been supplying the Angels lineup. I tweak it a little each day, but normally I’ve been using something like this: David Fletcher 2B, Mike Trout CF, Anthony Rendon 3B, Shohei Ohtani DH, Justin Upton LF, Albert Pujols 1B, Brian Goodwin RF, Andrelton Simmons SS, Jason Castro C. The hard part is balancing the playing time between Fletcher and Tommy La Stella. Manager Joe Maddon said in spring training that La Stella would play second against right-handers, so that means Fletcher was probably going to play right field, or else fill in for a Simmons, Rendon or Upton on the other days. How do you think the Angels organization is going to adjust using Shohei Ohtani in a shortened season or are they going to stay with the once every seven days model? — @darylbresach I don’t think the length of the season affects the Angels’ desire to have Ohtani pitch once a week. They are very cautious about the intensity of his workload, so they want him to have the day off before and after he pitches. If he pitches too often, that puts stress on his arm and takes him out of the lineup as a hitter too much. They believe that pitching once a week, and hitting as many as four days a week, is how they maximize his value at both. One potential change, however, is that the Angels had planned on using Ohtani to pitch before or after a scheduled off day as much as possible, so he could get the day off without missing a day in the lineup. Many of those days off may become game days in a truncated schedule. Related Articles Former Angel Jim Edmonds tested positive for coronavirus, but is now symptom free Angels’ Griffin Canning cleared to resume throwing Angels’ Andrew Heaney bides his time during coronavirus quarantine Former Angels star Jim Edmonds goes to hospital for coronavirus testing Angels minor leaguer uses coronavirus shutdown to build college recruiting site Do Arte (Moreno) and Billy (Eppler) really believe they can be contenders without an ace or a closer? Sorry, Heaney is not an ace and closers by committee don’t work. Another wasted Trout year. — @nohohomi First, Robles’ performance last year certainly warrants him getting credit for being a closer. As for the ace, the Angels tried to sign Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Zack Wheeler and they tried to trade for Corey Kluber. They struck out on all of them. Instead, they tried to build a team around the offense and the bullpen, similar to what the Milwaukee Brewers have done each of the past few years. It’s not the ideal way to go about it, but it was the best option they had once they missed out on the front-line starters. What are some of the road trips that you look forward to covering when the schedule comes out each year? — @NCAngelsfan I always enjoy going to New York, because it’s unlike any other city. The crowds everywhere would drive me crazy if I lived there, but it’s a fun city for three or four days. I also love Seattle, and I’m fortunate enough to get three trips a year there (normally). I think Minneapolis is also highly underrated. The ballpark and the city are beautiful, as long as you don’t go in April and get snow. What’s your favorite food to grub on at Angel Stadium? — @badberny Cathy’s Cookies are pretty great. We started a tradition late last season in which a different writer would buy a bucket of the chocolate chip cookies each Saturday home game, and they would be shared throughout the press box. View the full article
  14. Jim Edmonds reported on Wednesday night on his Instagram account that he tested positive for the coronavirus, but he said that he’s now symptom free. Edmonds, who began his major league career with the Angels, posted a video in which he explained what happened to him after he was hospitalized over the weekend. “Just wanted to drop a quick note,” Edmonds said. “I appreciate everyone who has sent well wishes and wished me the best. I did test positive for pneumonia and test positive for the virus. I am completely symptom free now and doing really well, so I must have had it for a while before I got tested.” Edmonds, 49, posted on social media on Saturday that he’d undergone tests, but he didn’t report the results until Wednesday.Related Articles Angels’ Griffin Canning cleared to resume throwing Angels’ Andrew Heaney bides his time during coronavirus quarantine Former Angels star Jim Edmonds goes to hospital for coronavirus testing Angels minor leaguer uses coronavirus shutdown to build college recruiting site Reports: MLB, players union reach tentative deal to salvage 2020 season Edmonds urged people to see a doctor if they have shortness of breath. “Don’t take it lightly,” he said. “Take care of yourself.” A Gold Glove outfielder, Edmonds spent parts of his first seven big league seasons with the Angels. He was then traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, where he spent the next eight years. Since he stopped playing, Edmonds briefly starred with his ex-wife on the Real Housewives of Orange County. He has also worked for the Cardinals as a broadcaster. View the full article
  15. Angels starting pitcher Griffin Canning, who missed much of spring training with an elbow issue, was cleared to resume throwing after a follow-up evaluation this week, General Manager Billy Eppler said Wednesday. Canning underwent a platelet-rich plasma injection on March 6 after several rounds of diagnostic tests failed to show any structural damage that could explain the discomfort in his elbow. The tests showed only “chronic changes,” which amounts to simple wear. Canning will gradually increase the intensity of his throwing, and he could be pitching from a mound by the end of April, Eppler said. The Angels had been preparing to start the season with Canning on the injured list, but the coronavirus shutdown has pushed back the start of the season far enough that the former Santa Margarita High and UCLA standout could be available whenever the season begins. Related Articles Angels’ Andrew Heaney bides his time during coronavirus quarantine Former Angels star Jim Edmonds goes to hospital for coronavirus testing Angels minor leaguer uses coronavirus shutdown to build college recruiting site Reports: MLB, players union reach tentative deal to salvage 2020 season Angels manager Joe Maddon uses coronavirus shutdown to connect with people View the full article