Angels' Mike Trout hears his playoff clock ticking
FILE - Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run during the third inning of the first baseball game of a doubleheader against the Houston Astros in Anaheim, Calif., in this Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020, file photo. Mike Trout is back in spring training with the Angels to chase his first playoff victory. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)ANAHEIM, Calif. – Mike Trout is beginning a new season with the same old question. How long will the Los Angeles Angels' three-time AL MVP have to wait for his first playoff victory? Not even the expanded 2020 postseason helped Los Angeles, which finished 26-34 for its fifth straight losing campaign — the franchise's worst stretch since the 1970s.
LEADING OFF: Ailing players heal up, Yanks back in Cleveland
Minnesota has a couple of ailing hitters in third baseman Josh Donaldson (right calf) and center fielder Byron Buxton (mild concussion symptoms). Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said Buxton is improving and the team hopes he’ll be ready for the postseason opener. Brett Phillips exited Sunday’s game with right hamstring tightness, and fellow outfielder Manuel Margot (sore foot) was scratched from the lineup. Acuña was scratched Sunday with renewed irritation in his left wrist. Because of the reworked schedule caused by the virus outbreak, the Yankees didn’t play in Cleveland this year.
Pandemic playoffs: Rays top A.L., Brewers, Astros in despite losing records
That’s when the Brewers, at 29-31, open their series against Los Angeles ace Walker Buehler at Dodger Stadium. But the Brewers also made it when San Francisco lost 5-4 to San Diego for the last wild-card spot. That’s how you see it,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “It’s going to be wild, everything about it,” Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier said as the playoffs approached. NL batting champion Juan Soto and the World Series champion Washington Nationals missed the playoffs, as did three-time AL MVP Mike Trout.
Pandemic playoffs: Brewers, Astros in despite losing records
Members of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after defeating the Milwaukee Brewers in a baseball game to earn a playoff birth Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in St. Louis. That’s when the Brewers, at 29-31, open their series against Los Angeles ace Walker Buehler at Dodger Stadium. In a win-and-you’re-in game, St. Louis clinched by beating Milwaukee 5-2. That’s how you see it,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. St. Louis played a total of 58 games — it was prepared for a doubleheader in Detroit on Monday if needed to settle the playoff picture.
Angels fire GM Billy Eppler after 5 straight losing seasons
ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Los Angeles Angels fired general manager Billy Eppler on Sunday after the long-struggling franchise finished its fifth consecutive losing season under his watch. But Eppler was dismissed when the Angels couldn't even make the eight-team AL playoff field this month. “Billy and I really, I thought, were great together,” Maddon said after the Angels ended their season with a 5-0 loss to the Dodgers. Eppler's Angels went 332-376 (.469) under three managers with a rotating cast of supporting players around Trout and Pujols. They've endured five straight losing seasons for the first time since 1977, and their winning percentage over the past two seasons is the Halos' worst two-year run since 1992-93.
Angels SS Andrelton Simmons opts out of final 5 games
Los Angeles Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons throws to first to get Texas Rangers' Rougned Odor out on a ground ball during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)ANAHEIM, Calif. – Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has opted out of the remainder of the Los Angeles Angels' season. But the Angels haven't publicly closed the door on Simmons' return, and he could be given a qualifying offer. The Angels haven't had a winning season during Simmons' five years in Anaheim, although Simmons said last week he wasn't discouraged by the lack of team success. Simmons also said he hadn't been involved in any recent contract talks with the Angels, but he had enjoyed playing for the club.
Angels' Shohei Ohtani strains arm, won't throw for 4-6 weeks
Ohtani is traveling with the Angels to Seattle, where they open a six-game road trip Tuesday night. The Angels also use Ohtani as their primary designated hitter between his mound starts, and he is day-to-day as a hitter, the team said. Ohtani said afterward he was reluctant to throw at his full velocity, but believed he would be capable with time. He went 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA and 63 strikeouts during 10 largely successful starts, and he batted .285 with 22 homers as a designated hitter. He spent 2019 solely as the Angels' designated hitter while patiently rehabbing his pitching arm, hitting steadily but not spectacularly.
AL MVP Trout still doesn't feel comfortable about this year
Trout and his wife, Jessica, are expecting the couple's first child in August. Honestly, I still dont feel that comfortable," he said. The three-time AL MVP continues to have discussions with general manager Billy Eppler and manager Joe Maddon. Trout did leave open the possibility of possibly not playing until the baby arrives. I'm appealing to our guys to be as informed as they can and then arrive at their own truth.
Shohei Ohtani returns to 2-way role with Angels this season
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. 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. Eppler said none of the Angels' players are currently intending to opt out of playing in the shortened season. 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.