Giants prospect Angel Villalona cleared of murder charge, but still can’t get visa

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Angel Villalona re-signed with the Giants and dropped his $5 million lawsuit against the team after being cleared of murder charges in the Dominican Republic, but the one-time top prospect has not been granted a visa and won’t be reporting to spring training on time.

Giants vice president Bobby Evans said today that the visa has not been approved because Villalona is not considered an “elite athlete” due to what is believed to be medical or conditioning issues.

However, as Baseball America writer and Latin American prospect guru Ben Badler just tweeted: “There’s no way Angel Villaona’s visa issue is over his conditioning. Someone is hiding something.”

Stay tuned …

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.