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Video: Shohei Ohtani hits first homer of 2019

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Angels DH Shohei Ohtani scuffled in his first five games of the season, registering just four hits (all singles) in 24 trips to the plate. He got on the board in a big way on Monday night against the Twins, blasting a two-run home run off of José Berríos in the third inning to give the Angels a 3-2 lead.

Ohtani underwent Tommy John surgery after the 2018 season, which means he won’t be pitching until 2020. He needed to miss only the first 34 games of the 2019 season as a batter and will serve as a DH for the rest of the season.

Last year, Ohtani earned AL Rookie of the Year Award honors, batting .285/.361/.564 with 22 home runs, 61 RBI, 59 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases while also compiling as a pitcher a 3.31 ERA with a 63/22 K/BB ratio across 51 2/3 innings.

Padres fire Andy Green

Andy Green
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The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.

Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:

I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.

In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.

“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”

Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.

For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.