Jeff Kent on “Survivor” recap: Manly handshakes

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I watched Jeff Kent on “Survivor” last night so you didn’t have to …

• For the second straight episode Kent was the first contestant mentioned in the “previously on …” opening montage, so the producers are clearly trying to make him one of this season’s stars.

• Kent figured out that one of his tribe mates, Jonathan, had secretly found the hidden immunity idol that everyone else was searching for. Kent’s reaction was to get angry at himself for not finding it first, saying: “I give him props … that’s a pure veteran move.”

• A few moments later Kent began scheming about how he could turn the tables on Jonathan, concluding that “we might be able to pull a little blindside.”

• Kent’s tribe received immunity for winning a swimming/puzzle-solving challenge, although unlike last week’s immunity challenge Kent didn’t actually do a whole lot. His injured knee, however, no longer appears to be an issue.

• After the immunity challenge Kent took Jonathan aside and got him to admit that he had possession of the hidden immunity idol. Jonathan then tried to form an alliance with Kent, who acted interested in the idea and replied: “If it means I need to ride in your boat because you have some knowledge and some power, then I’ll ride in your boat for a while.”

• They came to an informal agreement and shook on it, but Kent later admitted: “I gave him a four-finger handshake, not a manly five-finger handshake, because I’m not so committed. In my book, unless it’s a manly handshake it’s not going to count.”

• Seriously, that’s a direct quote. And then he justified the whole thing by saying: “This is a me game, not a we game.”

• On the episode-ending preview of next week’s show “Jeff plays ball with Jonathan” was one of the highlights and Kent was shown seemingly realizing that he suddenly had some decision-making pull, saying: “I can control some people.”

Starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani will pinch-hit and pinch-run for the Angels in 2018

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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.