Francona: Good manager, poor prankster

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Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona tried to pull a prank on veteran pitcher Tim Wakefield on Sunday.

The 42-year-old pitcher had just been named an All-Star for the first
time in his 17-year career, but Francona called him into his office as
if to deliver bad news. As Wakefield described it …

“It was pretty funny. I was actually in the weight room doing my
work and (pitching coach John) Ferrell had come in and said, ‘Tito
wants to see you after he talks to the other guys.’ I didn’t know what
other guys. Then I got to his office and the office was closed. When it
opened, he called me into the office and I saw all the other guys
walking out with their all-star packages. He sat me down and tried to
play it off like it wasn’t good news. He couldn’t hold the laughter.”

Francona seems like a nice guy. Maybe that’s why he couldn’t pull it
off. Or maybe he didn’t have the heart to do that to Wakefield, a guy
who’s been around forever, pitched in any role asked, and never
complained. Regardless, Francona should avoid the poker table at all
costs.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.