Angels
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Angels' awful farm system will be big-league problem this season

The baseball industry’s view of the Angels farm system remains unchanged after five weeks of spring training, with scouts from other teams continuing to use less-than-flattering terms to describe the organization’s top prospects.

“Awful,” said one scout.

The shortage of up-and-coming talent will compromise not only the Angels’ long-term future, but also the upcoming season.

With a farm system that is ranked the worst in baseball by multiple national publications, the Angels won’t be able to adequately replace an injured starter from within their organization. Nor will they have anyone of value to trade if they have to address a shortcoming at the non-waiver trade deadline.

The dynamic will magnify already-existing problems on the major league roster.

There’s still a gap in left field. The pitching rotation has minimal upside behind Garrett Richards and Andrew Heaney. With the exception of Andrelton Simmons at shortstop, the infield defense is shaky, at best.

Even with the best player in baseball, it’s entirely possible the Angls finish last in the American League West.

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A disappointing observation from the NCAA basketball tournament: In person, Duke guard Grayson Allen doesn’t resemble Ted Cruz nearly as much as he does in some photographs.

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Alex Rodriguez once kissed his reflection in a mirror for a magazine photospread. His penchant for making himself a subject of derision was such that former New York Yankees coach Larry Bowa used to playfully fine him $100 every time he was quoted saying something stupid in a newspaper. So it was only more of the same for Rodriguez this week when he stumbled as he discussed his retirement plans, first saying he would retire at the end of the 2017 season, then saying he wouldn’t, only to backtrack again to say he would.

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Golden State Warriors Coach Steve Kerr was jokingly asked in February if he had a Yasiel Puig in his locker room. Kerr didn’t have an answer then, but he does now: All-Star forward Draymond Green, who posted a video on his Snapchat account showing the driver’s view of a car traveling at a Puigian 118 mph. On second thought, comparing Green to Puig is an insult to Puig, who is at least smart enough to not share recordings from a speeding vehicle.

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Andre Ward made strong case for being the No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer in the world in the fall of 2012 when he stopped Chad Dawson in a masterful performance. Ward has fought only twice since, the result of a dispute with a promoter and because of injuries. The former Olympic gold medalist remains determined to become a pay-per-view attraction, but he’s 32 now and it’s unknown if what he has left at this stage of his career. There will be some answers Saturday, when steps in the ring for the first time in nine months against Sullivan Barrera.

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There used to be a sense that soccer’s near-universal popularity shielded the sport from terrorist violence, but that’s no longer the case. Now, in the wake of the terrorist attack in Belgium, there’s talk of the European Championships this summer being played in empty stadiums.

The 20-nation tournament will be hosted by France, which was the site of multiple jihadi attacks last year. A November incident that marked the deadliest terrorist attack in the nation’s history forced the French president to evacuate from a soccer match between France and Germany at the Stade de France – the same stadium that will host the final match of the Euros.

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On Friday, at least 29 spectators were killed by a suicide bomber at a soccer match in Baghdad.

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The United States under-23 national soccer team earned a 1-1 draw against Colombia in the first leg of a two-match Olympic qualifying series.

While the result was everything the U.S. could have asked for, the match itself was a reminder of how far American soccer has to go to realize the vision of Jurgen Klinsmann, the manager of the senior national team. When Klinsmann was hired in 2011, he said he wanted the U.S. to play a more “proactive” style – in layman’s terms, he wanted the team to take the game to its opponents.

Even with some players who figure to be part of the senior national team in the future – Jordan Morris, Emerson Hyndman among them – the U.S. allowed Colombia to possess the ball more than 75% of the time. The Americans had no player anywhere near the level of Colombian playmaker Juan Quintero and were outshot, 18-5.

Follow Dylan Hernandez on Twitter: @dylanohernandez

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