UPDATE: OK, maybe not. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Nick Swisher has hired Dan Lozano as his new agent, not Scott Boras.
Oh well. We’re pretty sure Boras will find a way to get along just fine without him.
11:27 PM: Robinson Cano switched agents last week, going from Bobby Barad to Scott Boras, and now Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Boras has also lured one of his Yankees teammates away from his current representation.
Sherman quotes “two sources” as saying that Nick Swisher “is leaving his longtime agent Joe Bick to go with Boras.” Once that happens, Boras would represent four-ninths of the Yankees’ lineup with Cano, Swisher, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira, plus setup man Rafael Soriano and backup outfielder Andruw Jones.
The timing of Cano’s agent switch seemed odd, because he’s under the Yankees’ control through 2013 anyway. Swisher is under team control through 2012, as he’ll earn $9 million this season and the Yankees have a $10.25 million option or $1 million buyout for 2012.
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.