Red Sox “backing off” free agent closer Francisco Cordero

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Earlier this week the Red Sox were said to be among a handful of teams pursuing free agent Francisco Cordero, but now John Tomase of the Boston Herald reports that they’re “backing off” and “it appears we can cross Cordero off their list of potential closers.”

Tomase suggests that Cordero’s desire for a multi-year deal at age 37 is what soured the Red Sox on him, particularly with his strikeout rate plummeting in 2011.

By trading for Mark Melancon last week the Red Sox have a potential closer option in place, but pursuing Ryan Madson is still possible if his demands continue to drop and they’ve also been linked to A’s closer Andrew Bailey.

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.