Mourinho in talks with Dortmund

first_imgRelatedPosts Ighalo: My best moment as ‘Red Devil’ EPL: Son fires four past Southampton EPL: Crystal Palace stun sloppy Man U Jose Mourinho is in ‘regular contact’ with Borussia Dortmund – and has reportedly even started learning German in anticipation of a move to the Westfalenstadion.Mourinho has been out of the dugout since December last year when he was axed by Manchester United after overseeing a dismal start to the campaign at Old Trafford.The former Chelsea boss is currently working as a pundit with Sky Sports but is keen to return to management and Dortmund are on his radar, according to German outlet Bild.Current Dortmund boss Lucian Favre is not understood to be in any immediate jeopardy – but the German giants have made an inconsistent start to the campaign and chiefs are looking at the long-term picture.The chance to challenge Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga dominance is something which could appeal to Mourinho, but he would be forced to take a significant drop in wages from the £24million-a-year he pocketed at United.Tags: Borussia DortmundJose MourinhoManchester Unitedlast_img read more

Women’s tennis advances to 2nd round with win

first_imgDespite the University of Wisconsin’s 4-1 record in singles against Iowa, Thursday’s Big Ten Tournament first-round match was anything but easy. Katya Mirnova’s 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory capped off Wisconsin’s comeback after the Badgers dug themselves a hole early in the match.Although Mirnova was up 5-1 in the decisive set, Iowa’s Alexis Dorr won three straight games to keep Iowa’s season alive. Down 30-40 in the last game, Dorr’s slam hit the net to advance the Badgers in the tournament.“It was a little nerve-racking considering the fact that it was kind of a deciding match,” Mirnova said. “She did give me a few mistakes which encouraged me, but she played really well today.”According to women’s head coach Brian Fleishman, nerves are a factor the team looks to improve upon. “Katya has put herself in positions to win the match,” Fleishman said. “I think she’s trying to deal with it, but she gets nervous.”In addition to Mirnova, Wisconsin’s rally was guided by freshman Angela Chupa’s turnaround. Chupa, who struggled at times in Big Ten singles, came back from 4-1 and 4-0 in the first two sets to sweep Jessica Young.According to sophomore Jessica Seyferth, the team’s victory can be attributed to mental toughness.“I think we really matured mentally, definitely towards the end of the season. I think that’s definitely helped our success,” Seyferth said. “Everyone is kind of stepping up.”Seyfeth also helped the Badgers with her 6-3, 6-3 victory over Kelci Klokenga. Looking to rebound from her tough doubles loss, Seyferth never faced any trouble as she cruised to the sweep. With the home crowd cheering her on, Seyferth gave Wisconsin its first victory to tie up the match at 1-1.“I hope they realize all the hard work they’re putting in is kind of paying off at the end of the season,” Fleishman said. “It’s kind of good to win on the home courts in front of their friends and family — (it’s) a confidence booster.”In addition to having the home crowd at their back during the Big Ten Tournament, the weather also played a factor in the match. With gusts of 16 mph, players facing the south were able to take advantage of topspin shots.“In doubles, I would say it was a little more difficult to judge the ball,” Seyferth said. “I missed some shots I probably wouldn’t miss.”Although the wind died down as the match wore on, the glare of the sun became an increasing factor.“The sun is coming from the side, so it’s very difficult,” Mirnova said. “I didn’t think it would be a factor, but it surprised me.”Wisconsin is hoping the weather will play an equally important role tomorrow when they face Michigan in the second round of the tournament. Although the 18th-ranked Wolverines should be able to handle the unranked Badgers, the weather could give Wisconsin an advantage.“The wind is sort of an equalizer,” Fleishman said. “Whoever deals with the elements better comes out on top.”Although Wisconsin is riding the momentum from Thursday’s win heading into today’s game, playing back-to-back days could also become an issue for the Badgers.“Turning around after playing today as hard as the girls did, they’re going to be sore, they’re going to be tired,” Fleishman said. “But if they want it bad enough, it could be interesting.”Despite the odds being heavily against Wisconsin, Mirnova still has confidence heading into tomorrow’s match.“I’ve played so many matches before, so I’ve played against the girl from Michigan,” Mirnova said. “I definitely feel they’re beatable.”last_img read more

GM Billy Eppler: Shohei Ohtani rehab plan favored over surgery by medical experts

first_img Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros For now, the Angels are still hoping he can avoid surgery entirely.Ohtani played catch for a second day in a row on Friday. If all goes well, based on a normal throwing progression and the time Ohtani has missed, he could pitch for the Angels by the beginning of September.“That’s one of my goals for this season, to get back on the mound,” Ohtani said through his interpreter after Friday’s game. “I just have to keep striving and taking the right steps to be able to accomplish it.”Manager Mike Scioscia had said before the game: “We do anticipate him pitching for us this year, if everything in his rehab goes as planned.”That rehab is still somewhat fluid. As long as Ohtani is just playing catch, it won’t interfere with his routine as an active hitter in the lineup. Once he has progressed to pitching off a mound or facing hitters in simulated games, he will be limited in the days he’s available to hit, just as he was before he got hurt.One complication is that Ohtani won’t be able to leave the team for a minor league rehab assignment, since he’ll remain on the active roster as a hitter. The Angels can set up simulated games at Angel Stadium or wherever the team is playing on the road.“We’re excited about him hopefully starting that journey to getting back to pitching,” Scioscia said. “We’re encouraged with this step, but obviously there are some hurdles he’s going to have to get over before throwing in a game, but hopefully we’ll continue to get good news as he goes through his progression.”ALSOAlbert Pujols (knee) is still scheduled to come off the disabled list when he’s eligible on Monday, Scioscia said. …Related Articles Mike Trout, with bat and glove, helps Angels end losing streak René Rivera (knee) has hit a snag in his rehab from surgery. He is eligible to come off the disabled list now, but he’s not ready. “Right now he’s making progress, but it’s certainly not at the pace you would have hoped to see,” Scioscia said. “It doesn’t mean he’s not going to be able to come back.”…Jim Johnson (back) pitched a scoreless inning for Triple-A Salt Lake City in a rehab outing on Friday. It was his third rehab game, and second in two nights. He will be re-evaluated and could return to the Angels soon…Nick Tropeano (shoulder) will be activated to return to the rotation on Saturday afternoon. Tropeano said he expects to be limited to around 90 pitches initially. “The way Nick was throwing the ball, it’s going to be a big boost for us to get in there and pitch the way he was before he was shut down,” Scioscia said.UP NEXTAngels (Nick Tropeano, 3-4, 4.83) vs. Astros (Justin Verlander, 9-5, 2.29), 4 p.m., Fox, KLAA (830 AM) Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.Eppler also reiterated that so far no doctor has even presented surgery as one of the options for Ohtani, who was diagnosed last month with a grade 2 sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. An MRI exam after six weeks of treatment revealed he’d healed enough to resume throwing. ANAHEIM — The news of the beginning of Shohei Ohtani’s throwing program was met with excitement around the Angels and, perhaps understandably, some skepticism from outside the organization.Since so many other pitchers have ended up having Tommy John surgery eventually after attempting to come back via stem-cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma injections, some believe the team should simply have Ohtani have surgery now.General manager Billy Eppler responded to that notion on Friday, saying that their doctors at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic have assured them this is the best decision at this time.“I can tell you the consensus among that group is to never push a player into surgery,” Eppler said. “I have to take the advice of people who spent a lot of time and money getting those degrees.” Clippers, Mavericks brace for the unknown in Game 4 Certainly, it’s possible that this throwing progression will lead to surgery, but the Angels won’t know that until it happens. Whether he has surgery now or in October, he’d still be out until the 2020 season. It would be worse for him to spend all winter resting his arm, then test it in spring training and need surgery then. He’d miss most of two seasons. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Angels’ David Fletcher continues to improve and impress teammates

first_imgANAHEIM >> Just after Joe Maddon memorably uttered the phrase Fletch-stein by way of making the oft-heard comparison between David Fletcher and former Angels shortstop David Eckstein, he rattled off a few qualifiers.“He’s got more pop,” Maddon said of Fletcher.“His throwing arm is stronger.”“He’s got more positional versatility.” Years from now we’ll know if Fletcher has surpassed Eckstein. In the meantime, he simply continues to raise his perceived ceiling. His defense has always been considered exceptional, but now he’s showing more at the plate too.“In the quarantine I did some different things with my swing and my approach,” Fletcher said. “Nothing crazy, but I feel better than I did in spring training.”Anthony Rendon has gotten his first look at Fletcher this year, and it didn’t take long for him to be sold.“He looks natural at any position that he’s at, whether it’s third, short or second,” Rendon said. “He’s just a grinder out there.”That’s when Rendon drew the “Captain America” comp to Fletcher.“He’s like Mr. Baseball,” Rendon said. “It’s fun to be around, for sure.”Fletcher replaced an injured Rendon at third for the first four games of the season, and then immediately shifted over to shortstop to replace Andrelton Simmons, who has been out with a sprained ankle.“Wherever they put him at second, short, third left, I think you could put him behind the plate and he’ll do a decent job,” Simmons said. “He’ll do a good job really defensively and offensively you know he’s a thorn in a lot of pitchers’ fingers. He’s just a scrappy good hitter. We know what David Fletcher brings to the table every day. So, no surprises, really happy to see him be a spark plug now.”So far Fletcher has been the ideal leadoff hitter for the Angels, thanks to an approach that has gotten more disciplined with each year in the big leagues.He swung at 40.2 percent of pitches as a rookie, cut that 36.2 percent last year and has cut it to 33.1 percent this year. As a result, his walk rate has climbed from 4.9 percent to 8.4 percent to 12.4 percent, bringing his on-base percentage up steadily as well.His current .382 on-base percentage is 51 points higher than the major league average out of the leadoff spot.General manager Billy Eppler said that Fletcher’s ability to make contact is so good that the Angels had to teach him to stop swinging at pitches just because he could hit them.“The confidence he has in his ability to get the barrel to the baseball is extremely high,” Eppler said.By getting Fletcher to swing at fewer pitches, they also give him a better chance to make hard contact with the balls he hits, which could improve his power.Fletcher already has three homers this year, which is half of his total from last season. So far it’s possible that it’s a fluke. His average exit velocity is the same as last year, and all three homers were well-placed fly balls of 365 feet or less.Still, there’s a chance that the power is a bigger part of his game.“Often times with players with good contact ability, power is the last thing to show up,” Eppler said. “I think players that had that type of profile and once they hit the 27, 28, 29, 30 age range, they end up hitting a higher rate of homers. That’s not something our expectation is for him, but it would not shock me if there’s that evolution.”Whether the power comes or not, you aren’t going to find anyone around the Angels asking for anything more from Fletcher, especially not his manager.Maddon admired Fletcher ever since he played against Maddon’s Cubs last April in Wrigley Field.“It was love at first double,” Maddon said. “When he hit that high fastball down the left field line, I didn’t know who he was. I had no idea.”Maddon then asked around to see if Fletcher was a top prospect, and he started following him more closely after the Angels finished playing the Cubs.Since then, he’s grown to like what he sees more and more every day.“He just never lets up,” Maddon said. “The guy is a baseball player. He’s the kind of guy that can be overlooked with today’s methods. I would take several more of those. We all would. He’s just a baseball player. He plays the game properly.”ALSOSimmons, who is out with a sprained ankle, had another workout on Thursday with the Angels reserves in Long Beach, getting live at-bats and running the bases. Eppler said Simmons “is still feeling it a little bit. I’m not entirely expecting him back for Game 1 or 2 of the Dodger series, but we’ll see how he feels Friday.” …When Simmons returns, pushing Fletcher to be used at other positions, the Angels may face some tough lineup choices. Eppler said they don’t simply have to have one player lose playing time when Simmons returns. “You don’t have to just have one player for every single position,” Eppler said. “Play guys all over the place. It doesn’t have to be one guy in one place every single day. We’re going into an 18-game stretch (without an off day). That’s going to require rotations in all areas.” …Eppler, who had not spoken publicly since Shohei Ohtani’s season as a pitcher was ended by a forearm injury, confirmed what Maddon had said last week. The organization plans to have Ohtani continue to be a two-way player in 2021. …The Angels have added shortstop prospects Kyren Paris and Jeremiah Jackson to their player pool, allowing them to work out in Long Beach. Neither has played above Class-A, so neither is a candidate for the majors this year, but the Angels wanted to give them development opportunity even without any minor league games, Eppler said. Given all that, and in light of Fletcher’s hot offensive start in his third big league season, perhaps the Eckstein comps have undersold Fletcher?Eckstein had a career OPS+ of 87, which means as a hitter he was 13 percent worse than the average, adjusted for his ballpark, during those years.Fletcher has a current career OPS+ of 98, which includes an 88 as a rookie, a 96 in his only full season and a sizzling 144 to start this shortened season. In traditional numbers, that’s a .303 average with an .882 OPS this season, and .287 and .730 for his career.PreviousDavid Fletcher signs autographs after the Los Angeles Angels first full-squad workout at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Monday, Feb. 17, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)Los Angeles Angels utility player David Fletcher poses for a portrait during Spring Training Photo Day at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)Los Angeles Angels utility player David Fletcher poses for a portrait during Spring Training Photo Day at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsDavid Fletcher #22 of the Los Angeles Angels throws over Luis Rengifo #4 for the out against Daniel Vogelbach #20 of the Seattle Mariners during the ninth inning at T-Mobile Park on August 6, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. The Angels beat the Mariners 6-1. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)Los Angeles Angels right fielder David Fletcher can’t handle a ball hit by Houston Astros’ Yuli Gurriel during the seventh inning of a baseball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)David Fletcher #22 of the Los Angeles Angels runs the base on his way to a double against the Oakland Athletics in the top of the first inning at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on July 27, 2020 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)Los Angeles Angels’ David Fletcher, right, slides safely into second base next to Oakland Athletics second baseman Tony Kemp with a stolen base during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, July 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)Los Angeles Angels utility player David Fletcher jogs out of the visitors locker room as he changes stations during Spring Training Photo Day at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)David Fletcher signs autographs after the Los Angeles Angels first full-squad workout at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Monday, Feb. 17, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)Los Angeles Angels utility player David Fletcher poses for a portrait during Spring Training Photo Day at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)NextShow Caption1 of 8Los Angeles Angels utility player David Fletcher poses for a portrait during Spring Training Photo Day at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)ExpandOf course, Fletcher still has a long way to go to match the quantity of Eckstein’s career. After breaking in with the Angels in 2001, Eckstein played 10 seasons in the majors, winning World Series rings with the Angels in 2002 and the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006. He made two All-Star teams.Fletcher, 26, does have a two-year head start on Eckstein, who had barely made his big league debut at the age Fletcher is today.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more