Giants claim Padres closer Heath Bell off revocable waivers

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Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that the Giants claimed Heath Bell off waivers, meaning they’re now the only team eligible to trade for the Padres closer.

Brian Wilson’s elbow problems may have played a factor in the Giants’ decision to claim Bell, although because the Padres obviously weren’t going to simply give him away for nothing there’s zero risk involved. And if they can’t agree to a deal, then at least they blocked Bell from going to other NL teams.

San Diego’s decision whether or not to trade Bell is a tricky one, because he’d fetch compensatory draft picks as a departing free agent, but there’s a shot he might simply accept the Padres’ arbitration offer and still a chance the two sides could agree to a multi-year deal. Whatever the case, it seems unlikely that the Padres would trade him to the Giants without getting at least one very good prospect in return.

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.