September 4, 2011 |
Reporting from Salt Lake City -- It is five hours before game time and Spring Mobile Ballpark, the picturesque home of the minor league Salt Lake Bees, is empty except for two figures on the field. Reggie Willits, wearing a gray T-shirt and black athletic shorts with No. 7 on one thigh, is at the plate, bat in hand, honing his craft with a hitting coach. For Willits, 30, an outfielder unassuming in character and undersized at 5 feet 9 and 185 pounds, this does not involve slugging baseballs over the fence; in 414 major league games, he has never hit a home run. Instead, he spends 45 minutes bunting balls toward third base and first, polishing one of the fundamental skills he used to carve out a niche as a valued Angels reserve from 2007 until this past June.
August 25, 2011 |
Start with a picture on the cover of the 2009 USC media guide. It shows Taylor Mays charging down the field, shoulders at a forward tilt, as if poised to lower the boom on an unsuspecting receiver. That fall, Mays was a two-time All-American safety who had passed up a choice spot in the NFL draft to return for his senior season. His future appeared limitless. Now fast-forward to this week, to a young man who arrived at the Cincinnati Bengals' training camp fighting for his NFL life.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 15, 2011 |
The difference between a full-time and a part-time Legislature is four weeks. And those four weeks begin today. It would behoove our lawmakers during the next month to show us what they've got, besides full-time pay ($95,000) and perks ($142 in tax-free per diem seven days a week while in session). There's an increasing clamor in California for rolling back the clock 45 years and returning the Legislature to part-time status. A recent Times-USC poll found that 65% of voters favored making the legislators part-timers and cutting their pay. That sentiment was shared by voters of all stripes and locales.
August 4, 2011 |
Struggling right-hander Joel Pineiro was pulled from the rotation and sent to the bullpen Thursday, but Manager Mike Scioscia won't name a replacement until early next week. With Monday's off day and the anticipated suspension of ace Jered Weaver for throwing near the head of Detroit catcher Alex Avila last Sunday, the Angels won't need a fifth starter until Wednesday night at New York. Among the in-house candidates are relievers Hisanori Takahashi and Horacio Ramirez , who both have extensive starting experience; triple-A right-handers Trevor Bell , Jerome Williams and Eric Junge ; and double-A right-hander Garrett Richards . Richards, the organization's top pitching prospect, took a 12-1 record and 3.04 earned-run average into Thursday night's start, so he would be in line to pitch Wednesday on one extra day of rest.
July 19, 2011 |
As much as Tuesday's demotion to triple-A Salt Lake stung, rookie catcher Hank Conger , who is mired in a two-month-long offensive and defensive funk, understood the move. "I was able help the team and earn some playing time, and now it seems like it's the other way around — I'm regressing and losing playing time," Conger, 23, said. "It was a little hard to swallow, but looking at the big picture, I've got to go down and get some work in. … Ultimately, you have to do what's best for the team.
June 9, 2011 |
Reporting from Denver The Jerry Sands Project has been put on hold. Still appearing clueless as to what they should do in left field, the Dodgers sent their top hitting prospect back to the minor leagues and promoted Australian outfielder Trent Oeltjen from triple-A Albuquerque. Of the situation in left field, Manager Don Mattingly said, "It hasn't really panned out. " In the Dodgers' 63 games through Wednesday, their left fielders had hit .216 with two home runs and 16 runs batted in. They have started six players at the position.
June 7, 2011 |
Steve Jobs, still gaunt from his battle with a rare form of cancer, interrupted his medical leave to unveil Apple Inc.'s new venture in the cloud. In what the Apple chief executive described as a major shift in how millions of people would store and organize their music, documents, photos and emails across multiple devices, he showed off an online service that will let Apple users access their digital media from anywhere. Jobs, who introduced this iCloud service at the opening day of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on Monday, said people could no longer rely on the personal computer as their digital hub. "Keeping these devices in sync is driving us crazy," he said.
April 9, 2011 |
One bright spot in Friday night's 3-2 loss to the Blue Jays was a fairly clean inning by demoted Angels closer Fernando Rodney , who gave up one hit in a scoreless ninth. Of the right-hander's 14 pitches, eight were strikes. In his previous outing, in Kansas City last Sunday, Rodney blew a save by walking three batters and allowing two runs in the Angels' 12-9, 13-inning loss to the Royals. Scioscia announced on Tuesday that Jordan Walden would be the new closer. "For the first time in a while, he looked real comfortable on the mound," Manager Mike Scioscia said of Rodney.
April 9, 2011 |
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad demoted a controversial aide Saturday, Iranian news agencies reported, amid rising calls for political change throughout the Middle East. Ahmadinejad's chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, was not only his top advisor, but also an in-law and comrade during the 1980s Iran-Iraq war. He will retain his lesser posts. Mashaei's unorthodox views about religion, including the role of the clergy and the preeminence of ancient Iranian cultural values over Islam, earned him the mistrust of hard-liners in the Iranian establishment but also won Ahmadinejad no friends among a seething opposition movement opposed to the president and his agenda.
February 17, 2011 |
Scott Kazmir isn't the only left-hander in Angels camp looking to reestablish himself. Trevor Reckling , one of the organization's top prospects entering 2010, hopes to rebound after he lost considerable velocity on his fastball and was demoted from triple-A Salt Lake to double-A Arkansas last season. "There's a little bit of a mystery there," Manager Mike Scioscia said Wednesday. "When a guy goes from 90-91 mph, and he's pitching at 86-87 mph and isn't hurt, the first thing you look for is mechanical issues, and there were some of those.