An­gels’ Scios­cia nixes re­port he’ll step down as ‘pop­py­cock’

The Western Star - - SPORTS - BY TOM WITH­ERS

Los An­ge­les An­gels man­ager Mike Scios­cia reached deep into his vo­cab­u­lary to de­scribe a re­port say­ing he’ll step down af­ter this sea­son.

“Pop­py­cock,” Scioc­sia said Sun­day, us­ing a dated term for “non­sense.”

A day af­ter The Ath­letic re­ported that Scios­cia is ex­pected to end his 19-year run with the An­gels in Oc­to­ber, the man­ager strongly dis­missed the re­port and in­sisted that he still loves what he’s do­ing.

Shortly af­ter the An­gels were beaten 3-0 by the In­di­ans on Satur­day night, long­time base­ball writer Ken Rosen­thal, cit­ing un­named ma­jor league sources, re­ported that Scios­cia - the long­est-tenured man­ager in the ma­jors - and the An­gels had reached a mu­tual de­ci­sion to part ways af­ter this sea­son.

Scios­cia said that’s not true, and he has “no idea” where the re­port orig­i­nated.

“Noth­ing has changed since we talked in Oc­to­ber,” he said, re­fer­ring to what he told re­porters at the end of last sea­son about his sta­tus. “There’s al­ways chat­ter out there. That’s it. Noth­ing’s changed. The only word I have is pop­py­cock. That’s all it is.”

Fol­low­ing last sea­son, Scios­cia, An­gels gen­eral man­ager Billy Ep­pler and owner Arte Moreno jointly said they would put off any talks about the 59-year-old man­ager’s fu­ture or a pos­si­ble con­tract ex­ten­sion - un­til the 2018 sea­son was over.

Scios­cia is in the fi­nal year of a 10-year deal he signed in 2008. Los An­ge­les An­gels man­ager Mike Scios­cia is shown dur­ing a press con­fer­ence be­fore a base­ball game be­tween the Cleve­land In­di­ans and the An­gels, Sun­day, Aug. 5, 2018, in Cleve­land. Scios­cia has strongly dis­missed a re­port that he’s step­ping down af­ter this sea­son as just chat­ter.

One of the game’s most lik­able man­agers, the for­mer ma­jor league catcher was in a play­ful mood and joked with re­porters while sit­ting in the dugout be­fore Sun­day’s game. Once he de­nied the re­port, Scios­cia was ea­ger to change the sub­ject.

Scios­cia said he did not speak with the team and doesn’t be­lieve his sit­u­a­tion will dis­tract the An­gels, who have lit­tle chance of mak­ing the playoffs. They en­tered Sun­day’s game in fourth place in the AL West, 16 games be­hind divi­sion lead­ers Hous­ton and well back in the wild-card race.

The An­gels haven’t made the post-sea­son since 2014, and they could po­ten­tially fin­ish un­der .500 for the third straight

year un­der Scios­cia.

They were a play­off fix­ture from 2002 through 2009, mak­ing the post-sea­son six times with Scis­cia at the helm and win­ning a World Se­ries ti­tle in ‘02.

In­di­ans man­ager Terry Fran­cona said he spoke with Scios­cia af­ter see­ing the re­port.

“I just wanted to let him know that I was think­ing about him,” Fran­cona said. “Be­cause he’s go­ing to have to deal with that now.”

Scios­cia has twice been named AL Man­ager of the Year. He has man­aged the An­gels in 3,028 games since tak­ing over in 2000 af­ter one sea­son at Al­bu­querque in the Pa­cific Coast League.

Only four man­agers - Con­nie

Mack (50), Wal­ter Al­ston (23), Bobby Cox (21) and Tommy La­sorda (21) - have man­aged one team for more con­sec­u­tive sea­sons than Scios­cia. All four are in the Hall of Fame.

Fran­cona said Scios­cia’s steadi­ness is re­mark­able in a game where change is in­evitable. Also, Fran­cona marvels at Scios­cia’s abil­ity to keep his play­ers mo­ti­vated through­out the years.

“It is re­ally amaz­ing,” Fran­cona said. “From my own per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence, I worry about shelf life. Not wor­ried be­cause you’re los­ing your job. I don’t think I’ve ever wor­ried about that. I worry that, be­cause if your mes­sage stops get­ting lis­tened to, that’s not good. And you can’t change who you are.”

San Fran­cisco new­comer Richard Sher­man will miss the next week of train­ing camp and the 49ers’ pre­sea­son opener af­ter strain­ing a ham­string in prac­tice Fri­day.

“We’re def­i­nitely go­ing to rest him at least a week,” 49ers coach Kyle Shana­han said Satur­day. “We don’t think it should be long term. It’s Grade 1, it’s a lit­tle higher than we ex­pected so we got to be care­ful with that.”

The for­mer Seat­tle corner­back was hurt chas­ing down re­ceiver Pierre Gar­con af­ter a long com­ple­tion from Jimmy Garop­polo dur­ing a full-team drill. The three-time All-Pro re­turned to prac­tice at the start of train­ing camp af­ter suf­fer­ing a torn right Achilles in Novem­ber with the Sea­hawks. Sher­man signed a three-year $39.15 mil­lion deal in the off-sea­son af­ter be­ing cut by Seat­tle.

In Sher­man’s place Sun­day, the 49ers ro­tated Tyvis Pow­ell and Greg Mabin with the start­ing de­fence. Jim­mie Ward stepped in for Sher­man dur­ing the off-sea­son pro­gram but has been with­held from full­team drills af­ter suf­fer­ing a ham­string strain last week. Ward has par­tic­i­pated dur­ing in­di­vid­ual por­tions of the last two prac­tices.

San Fran­cisco opens its pre­sea­son slate Thurs­day night at home against the Dal­las Cow­boys.

AP PHOTO

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