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Multitalented Japanese pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani will make his spring training debut for the Los Angeles Angels on the mound against the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday.

“I feel that this is a big step forward,” Ohtani told reporters Thursday, via an interpreter. “I’m really happy at this point.

“This will be my first start in the States; I’m pretty sure a lot of things aren’t going to go my way. That’s OK. I just need to find what I need to adjust and feel where I’m at, and it’s going to be enough.”

He threw a bullpen session Thursday. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said then that it would be unlikely Ohtani would make any pinch-hitting appearances early in spring training.

Ohtani also took batting practice Thursday, wowing teammates with home runs over the scoreboard and the batter’s eye at Tempe Diablo Stadium, according to multiple media reports.

“I’m enjoying fooling around with my teammates and having a lot of fun,” Ohtani said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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MLB

LHP Martin Perez returns to Boston Red Sox on one-year deal, source says

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Veteran left-hander Martin Perez has agreed to a one-year, guaranteed $5 million contract to return to the Boston Red Sox, a source confirmed to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Perez’s agreement, which was first reported by the Athletic, includes a club option for a second year for 2022.

The 29-year-old spent last season with the Red Sox, going 3-5 with a 4.50 ERA, after going 10-7 with a 5.12 ERA during the 2019 season with the Twins. He had spent the previous seven seasons with the Texas Rangers, posting double-digit wins three separate times.

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Baltimore Orioles reach one-year deal with recovering Trey Mancini

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BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles agreed to a one-year deal with recovering slugger Trey Mancini on Friday but haven’t come to terms yet with outfielder Anthony Santander.

The Orioles and Santander exchanged salary arbitration figures Friday, with Baltimore offering $2.1 million and Santander asking for $2,475,000. The sides can still settle on a number until an arbitrator hears the case and makes a ruling next month.

Mancini missed the entire 2020 season while recovering from stage 3 colon cancer. He signed on deadline day last January for $4.75 million and was preparing for another solid season before being diagnosed with cancer. The first baseman/outfielder was voted team MVP in 2019 after batting .291 with 35 home runs and 97 RBIs.

Mancini, 28, has been working out this offseason and expects to play a full season this year on a team in the midst of a significant rebuild. Before being sidelined, he averaged 28 homers over his three full seasons and remains one of Baltimore’s most potent offensive threats.

Santander is arbitration-eligible for the first time, and the timing works well for the budding outfielder. Although limited to 37 games in 2020 because of injuries, he hit 11 homers and 13 doubles in only 153 at-bats and drove in 32 runs. He received around $550,000 in 2020 and should receive a significant raise in 2021.

His breakout season came in 2019, when he batted .261 with 20 homers and 59 RBIs in 93 games.

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Cardinals, ace Jack Flaherty still without deal, swap arbitration figures

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ST. LOUIS — – The St. Louis Cardinals and ace Jack Flaherty have not agreed to terms on a 2021 contract and they swapped figures for salary arbitration Friday.

The 25-year-old Flaherty asked for $3.9 million and the team offered $3 million. The sides can come to an agreement until an arbitrator hears their case and makes a decision next month. If left to the arbitrator, the ruling will go entirely to one side or the other — no settling in the middle.

After finishing fourth in NL Cy Young Award voting in 2019, Flaherty went 4-3 with a 4.91 ERA over nine starts during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He made one postseason start, pitching one-run ball over six innings in a 4-0 loss to San Diego in the deciding Game 3 of their first-round series.

Flaherty was set to make $604,000 last year and ended up with $223,889 in prorated pay.

This is Flaherty’s first season eligible for arbitration, and he’s not eligible for free agency until after the 2023 season.

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