He might have only two more starts before the start of the regular season. Angels starters typically pitch in six exhibition games before the season, but Scioscia indicated on Thursday that Ohtani could count his two-inning simulated game as one outing. That means it’s possible Ohtani could pitch once more next week — likely Thursday or Friday — and then go straight into the season.“There’s still a little work to do, but we’re already comfortable there’s enough pitches to start the season,” Scioscia said. “Hopefully we’ll get him ready in these next couple outings.”Clean startBlake Parker arrived in the clubhouse Thursday morning without his beard. Parker said he’d been contemplating getting rid of the beard already because it had been getting uncomfortable, but giving up five runs in his outing Wednesday sealed the deal.Parker was looking for anything to get a fresh start in what has been a frustrating spring.“It’s hard not to be results oriented, but you kind of have to be,” said Parker, who has allowed nine runs in 4 1/3 innings. “Body-wise, everything is good. I guess some minor tweaks, mechanically or release point-wise, obviously makes all the difference. That’s what’s frustrating.”Scioscia also suggested Parker had been working to incorporate some new things into his repertoire, and that might be over soon.“I think as we get closer to the season, I think you’ll see him really focus on what he does best,” Scioscia said.Parker finished last season as the Angels closer and figures to start this year as one of the prime candidates for the job.AlsoJC Ramirez will pitch in a Triple-A game Friday. With Ohtani pitching on five or six days’ rest and the other starters on four, the Angels have two starters working each day that Ohtani pitches. …Scioscia offered his thoughts following the death of Augie Garrido, who made a name for himself by winning three national titles at Cal State Fullerton on his way to becoming the winningest coach in college baseball history. “Augie was a fixture in baseball, not only in Southern California for all the years he coached here, but in Texas and across the country,” Scioscia said. “He was very well respected.”Luis Valbuena, who traveled to Florida to take his test to gain U.S. citizenship, is expected back in camp and in the lineup Friday. Ohtani is 2 for 20 in major league exhibition games, with another two hits in eight at-bats against Angels pitchers in an intrasquad game.Obviously, it’s too small of a sample size to draw any conclusions. The quality of at-bats has further prompted questions about his ability to handle off-speed pitches and to hit left-handed pitchers.Scioscia and hitting coach Eric Hinske said Ohtani is making progress and they remain confident he will be able to hit. He’s going to have to do so while also preparing to pitch.On Thursday, the day before his scheduled start, Ohtani was not expected to do any kind of batting practice. He doesn’t hit on the day he pitches, or the day after.As for his development as a pitcher, his Friday start against the Colorado Rockies will be significant because he’s faced mostly minor leaguers in his three previous games. TEMPE, Ariz. — As Shohei Ohtani continues to have difficulty with big league pitching, more questions about his status as a two-way player are sure to come the Angels’ way.They aren’t ready for any of them yet.On Thursday morning, Manager Mike Scioscia cut off a question upon hearing: “If he were to continue to struggle at the plate …”“We’re not going to talk hypotheticals,” Scioscia said. “I think there are a lot of guys in our lineup that right now are struggling with timing. We’re going to work hard to get these guys their last 20-30 at-bats to be ready for the season.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
MASON CITY — A Mason City woman charged with theft after not returning a rental truck has pleaded not guilty. 32-year-old Lacharr Robinson is accused of renting a truck last June from U-Haul Moving and Storage in Grande Prairie Texas and never returning it. Authorities say false license plates were placed on the truck and the truck’s appearance was changed. Robinson is accused of driving the vehicle for over four months while knowing it was a rental. Robinson was arrested in March and charged with first-degree theft, a Class C felony punishable by up to ten years in prison. She was due in court next week for her arraignment hearing, but online court records show that she pleaded not guilty last week in Cerro Gordo County District Court. Her trial is scheduled to start on September 22nd.
Here are all the top transfer-related stories and football headlines in Thursday’s newspapers…Diego Costa claims he has been told by Chelsea manager Antonio Conte that he is free to leave the club this summer. FULL STORY HEREManchester United have issued a £60million take-it-or-leave-it offer to Real Madrid for striker Alvaro Morata, after the Spanish giants turned down an opening bid of £54.7million. (Daily Mirror)United have received a huge boost with reports that Real has cooled their interest in goalkeeper David de Gea. (Marca)If their pursuit of Morata fails, United could turn their attention to Torino striker Andrea Belotti, although they will be forced to fork out £87m to trigger his buy-out clause and sign him. (Manchester Evening News)Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney’s potential Old Trafford exit could be hindered by his wage demands, with reports suggesting Everton will be unable to afford their former striker. (Daily Star)Chelsea are preparing a player-plus-cash deal for Juventus centre-back Leonardo Bonucci. The Premier League champions will offer £48m, PLUS midfielder Nemanja Matic to get the Italian to Stamford Bridge. (The Sun)Tottenham are hiking up their asking price for Kyle Walker, who has been strongly linked with a move to Manchester City. (Daily Mirror)Spurs are also plotting a £15m move for Borussia Dortmund defender Matthias Ginter. (The Independent)Out-of-favour Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi is a reported target for Spanish club Sevilla. (@DeadlineDayLive on Twitter)Monaco’s in-demand teenage wonderkid Kylian Mbappe is ready to snub a move to Real Madrid and stay with the Ligue 1 champions this summer. (Le Parisien)Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has ‘agreed in principal’ to a new deal at the Nou Camp, according to reports. (Daily Mirror)Here are the latest talkSPORT.com headlines and transfer stories:?Transfer SHOCK! Liverpool abandon Virgil van Dijk interest and apologise to SouthamptonTottenham transfer news: Barcelona keeping tabs on Christian Eriksen ahead of summer spreeJohn Collins has accused Romelu Lukaku of showing a lack of respect towards Everton – and questioned whether he is good enough for a ‘top’ teamNolito wants to leave Manchester City: ‘My daughter’s face has changed colour – it looks like she’s been living in a cave’Tottenham transfer latest: Kyle Walker refuses to discuss Manchester City links and offers ‘no indication at all’ over futureChelsea and Manchester City target Leonardo Bonucci ‘open to Premier League switch’ – reportsLiverpool transfer ALERT! Reds ready to launch bid for £39m-rated Sporting Lisbon star Gelson MartinsNewcastle United target Pepe Reina has rejected a contract extension from NapoliLazio star Keita Balde Diao has rejected offers from Everton and Liverpool, according to reports in Italy