Marlins “going strong after” free agent closer Heath Bell

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Last night Heath Bell posted on Twitter denying an ESPN.com report that he was close to signing with an undisclosed team, but Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post reports that the free agent closer met with the Marlins and described Miami as “going strong after” him.

Whether that means the ESPN.com report is accurate and the Marlins are that unnamed team is unclear, but Capozzi speculates that Miami could non-tender incumbent closer Juan Carlos Oviedo (formerly known as Leo Nunez) “as he works through his immigration status in the Dominican Republic.”

Bell has previously said that he’d like to re-sign with the Padres or at least remain on the West Coast, but it’s possible the Marlins are simply throwing around so much cash that they’ll be tough to turn down.

Shohei Ohtani no longer facing Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday at Yankee Stadium

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Shohei Ohtani has essentially become the Angels’ designated Sunday starting pitcher, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced Thursday morning that the 23-year-old two-way Japanese star will be skipped in the rotation this weekend at Yankee Stadium for “workload management” purposes.

Ohtani is fine to continue hitting, so there’s no sense of any physical ailment.

This decision will rob us — and the Japanese media — of a showdown between Ohtani and countrymate Masahiro Tanaka. And for that we are rather devastated, but you can understand the Angels’ concerns about overuse.

Ohtani has registered a 3.35 ERA, 1.066 WHIP, and 52/14 K/BB ratio through his first 40 1/3 innings (seven starts) as a major league pitcher and he’s slashing .308/.364/.582 with six home runs and 19 RBI in 26 games as a part-time DH.