Rosenthal reports on the state of the Astros

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Ken Rosenthal has a good piece up this morning about the state-of-the-Astros. Specifically, where they stand on the ownership transfer. The short version: Jim Crane is on track for approval, but it may not come before the trade deadline at the end of the month. Which leads to an interesting discussion of how much say an owner-in-waiting like Crane has on team moves.  In his case, I just hope he’s yelling “sell!” through a megaphone and hoping to be heard.

Also of interest: contrary to what many suspected last month, Major League Baseball has not made Crane’s acceptance of a move of the Astros to the American League a condition of the team’s sale.  In fact, the subject has not been brought up, Rosenthal’s sources tell him.

It’s a good article about a topic — the sale and potential revitalization and transformation of an MLB franchise — that is getting surprisingly little attention this summer.

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.