Joey Cora is a candidate for the Mariners' job

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We’ve previously heard that Bobby Valentine and Ted Simmons were in the mix, but Jerry Crasnick just tweeted that, according to the scouting grapevine (which Crasnick is extremely tuned into) White Sox bench coach Joey Cora has emerged as “a strong candidate” for the Seattle Mariners managing job.

Which would be fantastic for baseball. Why? Because by all accounts, Cora is Ozzie Guillen’s bestest buddy in the world, and you have to figure that as a result Guillen is Cora’s primary mentor as he rises in the ranks.  Sure, personality counts for most things, but I’d like to think that some of the Ozzie Crazy has rubbed off on Cora.

And heck, maybe Cora can hire his own former White Sox infielder as his bench coach, thereby extending this increasingly interesting branch of the baseball manager family tree.  Anyone know what Craig Grebeck is doing these days?

Watch: Shohei Ohtani strikes out his first spring training batter

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Sure, spring training games don’t count toward anything “real,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy Angels’ star pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani mowing down his first big league competitors.

On Saturday, Ohtani took the mound against the Brewers for his first official outing in an Angels uniform. After allowing a leadoff double to Jonathan Villar, the 23-year-old righty settled down and issued a three-pitch strikeout to Nate Orf, his first of the spring.

It wasn’t the cleanest inning for the right-hander: the Brewers plated their first run on a walk, wild pitch and subsequent throwing error by catcher Martin Maldonado. Ohtani didn’t let things unravel further, however, and induced a pop-up for the second out before catching Brett Phillips looking on a called strike three to end the inning.

While the two-way phenom only lasted another two batters (a Keon Broxton dinger finished him off in the second), he’s already started to look like a formidable presence on the mound. Time will tell whether he can deliver at the plate as well — rumor has it he could feature in the Angels’ lineup as soon as Monday.