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Shohei Ohtani returning to 2-way role with Los Angeles Angels this season

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani will resume his two-way career with the Los Angeles Angels when baseball returns.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler confirmed Tuesday that his Japanese star will pitch and hit in the majors this season.

Ohtani was only a designated hitter last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He wasn’t expected to pitch in 2020 until at least May, and Eppler confirmed that the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t altered the Angels’ plans.

“We’ll probably have a little bit more of a governor on him, at least at the outset,” Eppler said. “He’s had a number of live [throwing sessions against hitters], but we want to up that intensity a little bit more and put him into a game situation. Just watching how he responds on a day-to-day basis will help guide us to how much we can push down on the gas pedal on him. We’re expecting him to be on the mound and stay on the mound and roll through spring training.”

Manager Joe Maddon said last week that he hoped Ohtani would start roughly once a week on the mound while serving as the Halos’ designated hitter in 3-4 games between starts. The Angels could have a six-man rotation for the short season.

Ohtani batted .286 last season with 18 homers and 62 RBI and an .848 OPS in 106 games. His production at the plate was nearly identical to his work in 2018, when he was the AL Rookie of the Year while making 10 starts on the mound.

Eppler said none of the Angels’ players are currently intending to opt out of playing in the shortened season. That includes three-time AL MVP Mike Trout, whose wife is due with their first child later this summer.

Eppler confirmed that first-round pick Reid Detmers will be on the Angels’ summer roster as the 56th player, although the left-handed starter hasn’t officially yet been added.

Eppler also went into details on the Angels’ adherence to health and safety protocols at Angel Stadium and at Blair Field in Long Beach, where the Angels also will hold their summer camp. The Angels have removed communal couches and tables from their clubhouses in a bid to remind their players of the new realities.

“Think of the clubhouse as more of a closet,” said Eppler, who has received positive feedback from his players over their safety steps. “It’s where clothes hang. Absent of anything you need to do in the training room or weight room, get outside.”

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Phillies place four on injured list without specifying reason

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PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Phillies have placed infielder Scott Kingery and pitchers Hector Neris, Ranger Suarez and Tommy Hunter on the 10-day injured list with no specified injuries.

The team opens camp on Friday, but the four players won’t be eligible to return until late next week at the earliest.

The Phillies had seven players test positive for COVID-19 last month, but manager Joe Girardi couldn’t answer whether any of the players were among them because of medical privacy.

“What I can tell you is they’re on the injured list, and that’s about all I can tell you,” Girardi said on Thursday. “MLB has given protocols on how to handle it. I don’t have a timetable on those players. I can’t really answer that question. As soon as I get an answer, I will give it to you.”

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MLBPA doubles investments to $160M ahead of bargaining

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NEW YORK — The Major League Baseball Players Association nearly doubled its liquid investments over two years as the sport heads toward collective bargaining that could lead to a spring training lockout in 2022.

The union had $159.5 million in cash, U.S. Treasury securities and investments on Dec. 31, according to a financial disclosure form filed Tuesday with the U.S. Department of Labor. That was up from $102.4 million at the end of 2018 and $80.1 million at the end of 2017.

According to the filing, the union had $24.5 million in cash, $75.4 million in Treasury securities and $59.6 million investments with the entities such as the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., known as Freddie Mac; Federal Home Loan Banks; and Federal Farm Credit Banks.

The union typically prepares for bargaining by withholding licensing money due to players and keeping it available to disburse during or after a stoppage. Baseball had eight work stoppages from 1972-95 but has not had one since.

Baseball’s labor contract expires on Dec. 1, 2021. The union has threatened to file a grievance accusing Major League Baseball of bad faith in bargaining during contentious talks to start the pandemic-delayed season, an accusation MLB had denied. The sides failed to reach an agreement during talks in May and June, leaving baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred to unilaterally announce a 60-game schedule.

Union head Tony Clark earned a $2.25 million base salary, an increase of $100,000, according to the disclose form.

Bruce Meyer earned $1 million in his first full year as senior director of collective bargaining and legal.

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No. 3 overall draft pick Max Meyer gets $6.7M signing bonus from Marlins

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MIAMI — Right-hander Max Meyer has agreed to a $6.7 million signing bonus as part of a minor league contract to join the Miami Marlins, and he’ll take part in training camp starting Friday.

The deal was for less than his slot value of $7,221,200 as the No. 3 overall pick in last month’s amateur draft.

Meyer had a 2.07 career ERA with 187 strikeouts in 148 innings at the University of Minnesota. He’s in the Marlins’ 60-man player pool and could crack their rotation at some point this year.

He will receive up to $100,000 of the signing bonus within 30 days of the deal’s approval by the commissioner’s office and half of the remainder on July 1 in 2021 and 2022.



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