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Luis Rengifo’s power potential encourages Angels

first_imgRengifo has just six homers through the first 309 at-bats of his debut season in the big leagues. But Wooten and others around the organization have lofty hopes for him because of what he did on Saturday night.Rengifo blasted a homer up to the train tracks beyond the left field fence at Minute Maid Park, a blast measured at 425 feet. A few days earlier, he had a belted a 427-foot homer against the Texas Rangers.“The power’s starting to shine through,” Manager Brad Ausmus said. “We’ve said all along, for his stature, he’s got a lot of power. It’s just a matter of consistent contact. He hit the home run in Texas, he hit the home run tonight. Some of the home runs he hits are moon shots. He has a tremendous amount of power, it’s just a matter of consistency.”Ausmus then pointed out that Rengifo began last season in Class-A. He rocked through three levels of the system in 2018, the first season after the Angels got him in trade for C.J. Cron just before spring training.This season he made his big league debut April 25, and since then he’s been on a rollercoaster of performance. Over the past 14 games, he’s been on an upswing, with a .278 average and a .361 on-base percentage. HOUSTON — Standing in a hallway in the Angels’ clubhouse, Shawn Wooten was in the middle of a discussion about Luís Rengifo’s power when the Angels rookie infielder walked past.The Angels assistant hitting coach reached out and grabbed Rengifo’s arm.“Look at these things,” Wooten said, with his hand around Rengifo’s bicep. “He looks like he could fill out. He’s 22. Think about him in two years. He’s going to be bigger and stronger, more mature.”Wooten then made a prediction about how Rengifo’s power could manifest in terms of homers: “I think there’s 25 in there.” Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone center_img Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros “I go up and down, up and down,” said Rengifo, who is hitting .243 with a .329 on-base percentage and .701 OPS. “But right now I’m feeling good. I’ve learned a lot this year.”The biggest issue currently in Rengifo’s offensive game are strikeouts. He has struck out 75 times in 354 plate appearances. Over the seven games prior to Sunday, though, he’d struck out just once in 31 plate appearances. He had only nine strikeouts in his previous 70 plate appearances.“There’s been a lot of conversation about controlling the strike zone and getting a good pitch, controlling his emotions,” Wooten said. “I think this is his second time going through and seeing (pitchers). It helps that he knows what they’re trying to do.”If Rengifo can continue to improve, Wooten has lofty expectations for him.“I’m not going to put him next to their second baseman,” Wooten said, referring to the Astros’ José Altuve, “but he can be that type of player. He has some power. He can run. He can bunt. He can do some things. … With his growth, he has the potential to be a superstar. The tools are off the charts. But it’s just obviously a matter of putting it all together, like a lot of young kids.”Related Articles ALSOTommy La Stella has begun taking some ground balls and hitting off a tee, Ausmus said. La Stella is out with a fractured leg, expected to return sometime in the next two weeks…In his fourth big league game, Miguel Del Pozo gave up his first run. Del Pozo retired the first nine batters he’d faced over the four games before issuing a walk to Abraham Toro in the seventh inning on Sunday. Toro then scored on a homer against Ty Buttrey.UP NEXTAngels (LHP Andrew Heaney, 3-3, 4.31) vs. Rangers (LHP Mike Minor, 11-7, 3.17), Tuesday, 7:07 p.m., Fox Sports West Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield last_img read more

Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw feels good after solid rehab start

first_imgRANCHO CUCAMONGA >> The final decision might not come for a day or two, after Clayton Kershaw has time to determine just how much 34 pitches to Single-A hitters affected his back.But if he has any input, and if he feels as good as he did Saturday evening, his next appearance will be in a National League game.“I think I’m pitching in four days, or five days,” Kershaw said after a one-hit, five-strikeout performance for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes against the Modesto Nuts.“I think they’re still ironing some stuff out, but at this point it’s still kind of a pitch count deal, making sure that I can contribute and not just go out there. It helps that it’s September, and we’ve got a lot of guys out there in the bullpen. “We’re still working the kinks out, but we’ll see.”• Related Story: Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw’s presence helps Rancho Cucamonga Quakes selloutIf Kershaw is about to return to the rotation, odds are that it will be Friday in Miami, the opener of a 12-game road trip. It would be his first appearance in a big league game since June 26, when he was roughed up in a 4-3 loss at Pittsburgh right before going to the disabled list, with what turned out to be a herniated disk.Not a bad September callup, at all, for a team trying to expand on a two-game lead in the National League West: A guy with an 11-2 record and 1.79 ERA, whose team was 14-2 on days he pitched before he went to the disabled list.For the record, the Dodgers were 27-34 in games he didn’t pitch before he went to the DL. They’re 10 games over .500 since, following Saturday night’s 5-1 victory over San Diego. Just imagine the possibilities. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img Certainly, the way Kershaw toyed with California League hitters allowed Dodger pulses to race a little bit. He threw 22 strikes in his 34 pitches, was between 92 and 94 mph with his fastball most of the night, and overmatched a lineup with no one hitting over .280 or driving in more than 59 runs.He had a 10-pitch first inning, striking out the first two hitters he faced and getting a first-pitch ground ball for the third out. He threw 11 in the second, getting a broken bat grounder and two more strikeouts, both swinging.The only hit he allowed? Catcher Robbie Perkins hit a 2-2 pitch maybe 10 feet, at most, and beat catcher Will Smith’s throw for an infield single with one out in the third. Kershaw got a double play grounder to finish the inning, then went to the bullpen to fulfill his mandate of 45 to 50 pitches.He gave the kids the full mix of pitches.“The fastball and slider were pretty decent,” he said. “The curveball needed a little work. It wasn’t there at times. I threw a couple of good ones, but a few got away from me. I guess for as much time as I’ve missed, I’ll take it.“But once you get into pitching real games in the major leagues, there’s not going to be so much forgiveness. I definitely need to be more consistent.”Performance, however, was less important than the condition of his back. The full verdict might not come for a couple of days but Kershaw said he felt progress, building on what he experienced following a simulated game Tuesday in which he pitched to Quakes hitters at Dodger Stadium.“I felt good,” he said. “I was able to warm up and sit in between innings and everything, stuff that’s bothered me in the past. It’s fun to pitch in a game setting again, and have some normal game-type situations.“The last few times when I’ve pitched, once I cool down and kind of sit for a little bit, it’ll stiffen up. As long as I’m OK doing that tonight, it’ll be a good test.”These rehab stints are necessary, and they’re fun for the fans who are more used to seeing the prospects. Still, it’s kind of weird to see Kershaw wearing a Quakes jersey, or to hear the LoanMart jingle after his strikeouts instead of the opening bars of Beethoven’s Fifth, as he hears at Dodger Stadium.Brett Anderson would have been happy with those problems. He pitched only two innings of a scheduled five-inning stint and gave up six runs and nine hits, including two doubles and a triple.For some reason, no one was asking when his next start might occur.last_img read more

State Education Board takes first step to require seat belts on all new school buses

first_imgDES MOINES — The State Board of Education gave preliminary approval Thursday to a change in state rules that would require seat belts to be installed in all new school buses.Department of Education Transportation Director, Max Christensen, told the board members that the National Transportation Safety Board recommended last May that lap-shoulder belts should be required. “Currently school districts are allowed to order buses with lap-shoulder belts if they so desire — but it’s not a current requirement here in Iowa. There are eight states in all new school buses,” Christensen says.He says they have a group that reviews proposed changes, and they unanimously voted in favor of requiring the belts. Some schools are already requesting them when they get new buses. “We do have I believe 16 districts in the state that are ordering all of their new buses with lap-shoulder belts. And in conversations with them, they are very, very pleased with those lap-shoulder belts,” Christensen says.Christensen says those districts have found a side benefit to the lap belts along with the safe travel. “For one thing, it reduces the student discipline problem on schools buses by about 80 percent,” according to Christensen. “So that alone is certainly worth looking at.”Information presented to the board shows the lap-shoulder belts cost around $123 each, and that would add about $8,400 to the cost of an average new school bus. Christensen says that breaks down to about four-and-a-half cents a day for each student on a bus.There has long been a debate about adding the lap-shoulder belts to school buses — with the thinking that it made it more difficult to get kids out of the bus in an emergency. Christensen says the thought process has changed. “If you look at especially school buses that maybe roll over — probably you’ve all seen the videos on TV that shows the kids inside the school bus — it’s like clothes inside a dryer, around and around they go. Consequently they are going to be injured,” Christensen says. “The current thinking is that it is better to have kids in seat belts that aren’t injured trying to get them out — than it is to have kids who are injured and trying to get them out.”Christensen says another factor is kids today  have grown up with seat belts and are very familiar with their use and how to get out of them.The Board of Education voted to move ahead with the change and there will now be a public hearing on the proposal June 25th at 10:00 a.m. at the board office in Des Moines. You can also send the board written comments, and those and the comments at the hearing will be considered when the board takes final vote on the issue.last_img read more