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Category: milwaukee brewers

Saito gets good news about family in Japan

After several tense hours, former Dodger pitcher Takashi Saito has managed to account for all of his family members following Friday's deadly earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Saito's family lives outside Sendai, the northern coastal city that was among the hardest hit by the disaster. The pitcher, now with the Milwaukee Brewers, was in contact with his wife and knew she and the couple's three children were safe.  But it wasn't until Friday afternoon, more than 12 hours after the quake hit, that Saito reached an uncle who told him the rest of his immediate family was safe.

Saito was given permission to leave the Brewers' camp Friday. He is scheduled to pitch Saturday but the Brewers said they may skip his turn.

-- Kevin Baxter in Tempe, Ariz.

Former Dodger Takashi Saito can't locate parents following quake

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Former Dodger pitcher Takashi Saito has been granted an indefinite leave of absence by the Milwaukee Brewers to deal with personal issues following the deadly earthquake that rocked Japan on Friday.

Brewers officials said Saito has talked by phone to his wife and three children in Japan but he has been unable to reach his parents. Saito was born and attended school in Sendai, the Japanese city closest to the epicenter of the magnitude 8.9 earthquake

A number of teammates, including first baseman Prince Fielder, approached Saito and encouraged him to leave camp for as long as he needs to be away, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.

-- Kevin Baxter in Tempe, Ariz.
Photo: Takashi Saito. Credit: Nam Y. Huh, Associated Press

Ron Roenicke sees Angels bouncing back in 2011

Ron Roenicke spent the past 11 years as a coach working with the Angels' outfielders before leaving over the winter to take the vacant managerial job in Milwaukee. And while he's excited about that challenge, he can't help but look back at his old job with some longing. That's because with the addition of three-time Gold Glove winner Vernon Wells to play alongside Peter Bourjos and nine-time Gold Glove winner Torii Hunter, the Angels may have one of the best defensive outfields of all time.

"It would be hard to get better than that," he said. "Defensively, fabulous."

As for the Angels' offensive struggles in 2010, Roenicke dismissed it as "a weird year" and said there are players in the clubhouse with too much pride to let that happen again.

"I don't know what happened," he said. "They've got Vernon Wells. Vernon is a quality guy. And Bobby [Abreu] too. Bobby was disappointed in the year he had last year. And I'm sure he's going to do something about that this year."

-- Kevin Baxter in Phoenix

Jepsen falters in second spring outing as Angels fall to Brewers, 2-1

Kevin Jepsen’s second outing of the spring didn’t go as planned Saturday, with Prince Fielder driving a two-strike pitch over the left-center-field wall for a two-run home run to give the Milwaukee Brewers a 2-1 Cactus League win over the Angels at the Maryvale Baseball Park.

Jepsen was wild from the outset, going to a full count on the first batter he faced, then walking the second on five pitches. He got two pitches over to Fielder before the Brewer slugger drove a 2-2 offering onto a grass berm more than 380 feet from home plate. That made former Angel bench coach and new Milwaukee Manager Ron Roenicke a winner in his first meeting with this former team.

On offense the Angels, who came into the afternoon hitting .233, managed a pair of singles and a double and batted only three times with runners in scoring position. But the lineup featured just two likely regular-season starters in Peter Bourjos and Maicer Izturis. Bourjos had one of the Angels' hits and also reached base on a walk. The Angels scored their run with two outs in the ninth.

With the loss, the Angels have been held to six runs in their last three games.

Starter Joel Pineiro was sharp in his three innings, allowing just a pair of hits.

-- Kevin Baxter in Phoenix, Ariz.

Angels -- well, some of them, anyway -- hit the road again

The Angels are on the road again in Cactus League play Saturday, which means the regulars will be staying home.

Manager Mike Scioscia has given six veterans -- Torii Hunter, Vernon Wells, Bobby Abreu, Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick and Jeff Mathis -- the afternoon off. In addition, rookie Mark Trumbo, who has seen the bulk of the spring action at first base with Kendry Morales sidelined, is also staying back in Tempe, Ariz.

Partly as a result the lineup, Scioscia's start in Phoenix against the Milwaukee Brewers and their new manager Ron Roenicke -- Scioscia's former bench coach in Anaheim -- features a few twists. Versatile Maicer Izturis, the probable opening day starter at third base, will play second Saturday. And Alberto Callaspo, another candidate for the third base job, will again be the designated hitter.Callaspo is still slowed defensively by a shoulder he strained playing winter ball in his native Venezuela. (Other than that, it was a good winter for Callaspo, who hit .312 with 18 RBIs in 32 games.)

Joel Pineiro will make his second start of the spring and wil go three innings, or about 45 pitches, whichever comes first. He'll be followed by, among others, right-handers Kevin Jepsen, Jason Bulger and Jordan Walden. The Angels have yet to win on the road this spring, losing to the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch and to the Texas Rangers in Surprise, Ariz.

-- Kevin Baxter in Tempe, Ariz.

Angels' Ron Roenicke gets Brewers job, source says

Roenicke_410 Reports out of Milwaukee say that Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke has been given the job as manager of the Brewers. A source close to the team confirmed the reports early Tuesday afternoon. Messages left for Roenicke were not immediately returned. Considered to be Angels Manager Mike Scioscia's right-hand man, Roenicke interviewed for the vacant job last month.

Others known to have interviewed for the job include Bobby Valentine, Bob Melvin and Joey Cora. An official announcement is not expected until the other parties have been notified.

Roenicke is the third coach from the Angels' staff to get a managing job in the last five years, joining former bench coach Joe Maddon, hired by the Tampa Bay Rays after the 2005 season, and pitching coach Bud Black, hired by the San Diego Padres following the 2006 season. Maddon has gone on to win two division titles and an American League pennant in the last three years, while Black and his low-budget Padres battled the world-champion San Francisco Giants to the last day of the season before losing the N.L. West division race.

-- Kevin Baxter

Photo: Ron Roenicke congratulates Mike Napoli in the Angels' dugout. Credit: Harry How/Getty Images

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