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Angels’ Parker promises to return to last season’s form

He was a feel-good story for the Angels last season, a reliever who, at age 32, finally established himself in the big leagues after years of trying.

In his first two appearances of 2018, however, the air surrounding Blake Parker has been slightly chillier.

He struggled through the ninth inning Friday, allowing two hits, a walk and a run while picking up the save in a 2-1 victory over Oakland.

He struggled again Sunday against the A’s, retiring only one of the four batters he faced in the ninth before being lifted in favor of Keynan Middleton, who got the final two outs for the save.

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“I’m going to get better,” Parker said. “I’m going to keep working and get back to where I know I can be and pitching more competitively.”

He said he spent part of Monday watching video, particularly of his 2017 season, when he had a 2.54 ERA, 0.832 WHIP and eight saves in 71 games.

Parker explained that his arm and body both feel fine. He has concluded that his issues are mechanical.

“I want to help this team out,” Parker said. “We’ve got a good team here and a good bullpen. We’ve got a good chance to make some moves this season. But it’s going to take all of us to be locked in.”

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Francona knew Ohtani would pitch in the majors

Cleveland manager Terry Francona evidently wasn’t surprised at what Shohei Ohtani did Sunday in Oakland.

In November of 2014, Francona was a coach on a team of big-leaguers during a tour of Japan. Ohtani pitched in that series, losing a game in which his opposing starter was the Angels’ Matt Shoemaker.

Ohtani, who was 20 at the time, went four innings, giving up two runs on six hits and striking out seven.

That was enough to impress Francona. On Monday, when asked how soon he envisioned Ohtani being ready to pitch in the big leagues back then, Francona said, “In the next week.”

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Heaney to pitch Friday in minor-league outing

Andrew Heaney (elbow inflammation) is scheduled to pitch Friday in a minor league game and throw 80 to 90 pitches.

If he passes that test, he could make his 2018 debut the first time the team needs an additional starter, during the April 12-15 series in Kansas City.

Etc.

Jahmai Jones, the Angels’ No. 4 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is moving from the outfield to second base. He’ll open the season at single-A Inland Empire. … The Angels unveiled their new protective netting, which extends at the same height of the netting above the backstop to the far end of each dugout.

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jmiller2929@yahoo.com


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