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Bruce Bochy says Max Muncy is ‘poking the bear’ with t-shirt

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Earlier this month, Max Muncy hit a home run off of Madison Bumgarner that landed on the fly into McCovey Cove, a relatively rare feat, especially from opposing hitters. Bumgarner wasn’t happy that Muncy was admiring his homer as it soared in the air, so he yelled at Muncy to put his head down and run the bases. Muncy barked back at him. After the game, Muncy said, “I told him if he doesn’t want me to watch the ball, go get it out of the ocean.”

And lo, a catchphrase was born. T-shirts were immediately made and those shirts have found their way into the Dodgers’ clubhouse. Muncy worse a “Go Get It Out Of The Ocean” t-shirt during batting practice ahead of Thursday night’s game against the Giants in L.A., which will feature Bumgarner starting.

According to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area, manager Bruce Bochy said of the shirt, “That’s poking the bear. You poke the bear enough and you can’t be upset if he bites back.” Bochy added, “they want to let kids play, but he’s fiery. I’ll miss that as much as anything, the way this man plays.”

It’s one thing to bark back at a player, but Bumgarner has a long history of stepping over the line. He has, on many occasions, thrown at hitters, escalating things into a benches-clearing confrontation. Bochy is certainly fair to say, “You poke the bear enough and you can’t be upset if he bites back.” However, if “bite” is a euphemism for intentionally throwing a 95 MPH fastball at a player, then that’s taking it too far. Rivalries and smack-talk are fun; injuries are not fun.

Maddon: Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch again for Angels this year

Shohei Ohtani
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Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch again this season for the Los Angeles Angels after straining his right forearm in his second start, manager Joe Maddon says.

Ohtani likely will return to the Angels’ lineup as their designated hitter this week, Maddon said Tuesday night before the club opened a road series against the Seattle Mariners.

The Angels’ stance on Ohtani is unsurprising after the club announced he had strained the flexor pronator mass near the elbow of his pitching arm. The two-way star’s recovery from the strain requires him to abstain from throwing for four to six weeks, which covers most of the shortened 2020 season.

“I’m not anticipating him pitching at all this year,” Maddon said. “Any kind of throwing program is going to be very conservative.”

Ohtani was injured Sunday in the second inning of his second start since returning to the mound following Tommy John surgery in late 2018. Ohtani issued five walks during the 42-pitch inning against the Houston Astros, with his velocity dropping later in the frame.

The arm injury is another obstacle in Ohtani’s path to becoming the majors’ first true two-way player in decades. He made 10 mound starts as a rookie in 2018 before injuring his elbow, but he served as the Angels’ regular designated hitter last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Ohtani has pitched in only three games since June 2018, but the Angels still believe in Ohtani’s ability to be a two-way player, Maddon said.

“I’m seeing that he can,” Maddon said. “We’ve just got to get past the arm maladies and figure that out. But I’ve seen it. He’s just such a high-end arm, and we’ve seen what he can do in the batter’s box. Now maybe it might get to the point where he may choose to do one thing over the other and express that to us. I know he likes to hit. In my mind’s eye, he’s still going to be able to do this.”

The veteran manager believes Ohtani will benefit from a full spring training and a normal season. Ohtani wasn’t throwing at full strength for a starter when the coronavirus pandemic shut down spring training in March because he wasn’t expected to pitch until May as he returned from surgery.

“Going into a regular season with a normal number of starts and all the things that permit guys to be ready for a year, that’s what we need to see is some normalcy before you make that kind of determination,” Maddon said.

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