White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson spent an entire game complaining about umpire Joe West

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White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson spent the bulk of yesterday afternoon’s game complaining about home plate umpire Joe West, whom he feels holds a longtime grudge against the team that led to the Royals getting favorable calls.

Harrelson talked about the umpiring for literally innings at a time and his broadcast partner Frank Thomas, who was subbing for a vacationing Steve Stone, frequently chimed in to agree.

After every close pitch that was called a ball for a White Sox pitcher or a strike for a Royals pitcher, Harrelson launched into another monologue about the umpires conspiring against the White Sox. He frequently used words like “disgusting” and “disgraceful” to describe the situation, and called it a “travesty” that West was even allowed to work White Sox games after his incident with Mark Buehrle earlier this season.

At one point Thomas noted that “back when I was playing” the catcher and pitcher would intentionally get “crossed up” on a pitch and let it hit the umpire, which seemed to be mostly a joke because a) Thomas laughed, b) “back when I was playing” was all of two years ago, and c) that rarely, if ever, actually happens. But then Harrelson liked the sound of Thomas’ “idea” and suggested the White Sox actually do it to West.

Seriously.

Finally, in the 10th inning Jason Kendall broke a 2-2 tie with a walk-off single, winning the game and the series for the Royals and dropping the White Sox to 2-4 on their road trip, at which point the following exchange took place:

Harrelson: This is absolutely … [five-second pause] … this is absolutely not right.

Thomas: This really sucks.

As a Twins fan I quite enjoyed the whole broadcast, but I can’t imagine many other people liking three straight hours of complaining about umpires and I can’t imagine MLB liking announcers publicly calling for teams to intentionally injure umpires.

Starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani will pinch-hit and pinch-run for the Angels in 2018

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The Angels’ bench is looking woefully thin this winter — so thin, in fact, that manager Mike Scioscia says he’s considering utilizing starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner on the days he’s not scheduled to pitch.

I’ve never had a pitcher pinch-run,” Scioscia told reporters Saturday. “There’s more bad than good that can come out of it. But Shohei is not just a pitcher. He’s a guy that has the ability to do some of the things coming off the bench, whether it’s pinch-hit or pinch-run, and we’re definitely going to tap into that if it’s necessary, because we feel we’re not putting him at risk. It’s something he’s able to do.

Granted, spring training allows for a certain amount of experimentation before managers and players decide what works best for them, so this may not be the strategy the Angels employ for the entire season. In addition to coming off the bench between starts, Ohtani is also expected to see 2-3 days at DH every week, forcing Albert Pujols to shift over to first base to accommodate the new two-way star.

Ohtani’s hitting prowess has already been well-documented — he has a lifetime .286/.358/.500 batting line from NPB and crushed a batting practice home run during his initial workouts with the team this week — but his skills on the basepaths have received less attention so far. MLB Pipeline describes the 23-year-old phenom as a “well-above average runner” whose speed has yet to manifest stolen bases: he’s nabbed just 13 bases in 17 chances over the last five years. That’s a number Scioscia hopes to see increased this season, though he doesn’t want his ace pitcher making any head-first slides on the basepaths to do so.

To be sure, it’s an unorthodox role for any young player to step into, but if anyone can pull it off, Ohtani can.