Press Association Remi Garde is ready for a post-Christmas clear out at Aston Villa. Agbonlahor, who made his Villa debut in 2006, has played just one minute under Garde and has not scored since March. Leicester’s Gokhan Inler and Bordeaux winger Wahbi Khazri interest Garde but he is also prepared to let players leave. Ahead of Saturday’s visit of West Ham he said: “There are some players who are here who haven’t been playing for a long time and I think it’s not very healthy for the the group or for themselves. “As a player you want to play and I can understand they are frustrated and they are not happy about their situation. We will have to find a solution. “I can’t tell you how many players but there are a few.” The squad will train on Christmas morning before spending the rest of the day at home with Garde hopeful a relaxed atmosphere will inspire a result. The Hammers have drawn their last three games 0-0 but Garde recognises they will be a tough hurdle to overcome. “I don’t believe too much in gifts, we don’t have to rely on anyone else but us,” he said. The boss wants to change his squad after admitting it is not healthy to have players out of the picture at Bodymoor Heath. Long-serving Gabby Agbonlahor could leave while Libor Kozak, Charles N’Zogbia, Joe Cole and Philippe Senderos are also likely to go. “It is (winnable), like every home game, but West Ham are very solid. They don’t conceded any goals, the good news is they didn’t score but they’re a tough team. “They are very efficient away. They are fourth if you have the table only on away games. “They are also very dangerous on the counter attack. We need to find the right balance, playing a home game but to be very aware of the counter. They have quick players.” Garde, who replaced Tim Sherwood in November, is attempting to somehow galvanise a relegation-haunted Villa side that lies 10 points from safety. Villa’s only Premier League victory so far this campaign came on the opening day of the season against newly promoted Bournemouth and they have scored only 14 goals from 17 league matches.
Colon, who suffered some rotator cuff damage last season, is throwing from flat ground with his graduation to a mound two or three weeks away at best. “There are some hurdles he needs to clear, but the time frame hasn’t changed that much from what we talked about,” Scioscia said. “I think it’s probably a stretch to see him ready by opening day.” TEMPE, Ariz. – While Bartolo Colon is aimed toward making the opening-day roster, manager Mike Scioscia hardly painted as optimistic a picture. Scioscia, speaking during a brief respite between staff meetings Wednesday, said he does not expect Colon to pitch in a Cactus League game this spring and would be happy simply if the right-hander threw from a mound before camp ended. The regular duo of play-by-play man Steve Physioc and color commentator Rex Hudler will be reduced to about 100 telecasts this season. The remaining 50 local broadcasts will be handled by play-by-play man Jose Mota and color commentator Mark Gubicza. The Angels agreed to contract terms with six players: right-handers Jose Arredondo and Steven Shell, infielder Matt Brown, outfielders Terry Evans and Nick Gorneault and catcher Bobby Wilson. Another 16 players on the 40-man roster are expected to be signed in the upcoming days. Juan Rivera’s broken leg in winter ball means Chone Figgins will continue to be on call for a number of positions, even though he is being aimed at the starting third base job. Scioscia said Figgins is being looked at as the probable fourth outfielder to go along with his third-base duties. Tommy Murphy and Reggie Willits also are vying for the backup outfielder job. There still is no further timetable on Rivera’s return. Scioscia expects him to be in Arizona for a examination by staff doctors possibly in two weeks. Rivera currently is being seen by a doctor in Florida. Kendry Morales, who had knee soreness in winter ball, was given clearance to begin camp on time. Position players report Monday with the first full-squad workout on Tuesday. Frankie Rodriguez has experienced visa problems the past few seasons which delayed his arrival in camp, but Scioscia does not foresee any late arrivals this year. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2731 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The Angels are resigned to a best-case scenario of Colon pitching some time in the first half. While his return could happen by the start of May, it could be delayed into June if he can’t get rehabilitated and build stamina in short order. “You try to (think) for the long term, too,” Scioscia said. “He has to be stepped up to a certain pace to make sure he holds up for this year. And in the future, we want to be careful when moving forward.” Scioscia hinted that mound work could be two weeks away but quickly backed off that. “He’s got a good amount of work ahead of him before he gets on the mound,” he said. The Angels announced multiple telecast teams for the upcoming season.
In the special session, Schwarzenegger is asking lawmakers to place another $10 billion in water bonds on the 2008 ballot. But that proposal has stalled in the Legislature as Democrats dispute the need to spend billions of dollars on additional dam and water storage projects. Schwarzenegger has recently offered to compromise by cutting about $1.5 billion from his original proposal for water storage, but Democrats have not responded. “California voters have approved more than $14 billion in bonds to address water and environmental issues in the last 10 years,” Schwarzenegger said. “Billions of dollars were directly aimed at projects designed to address the crisis in the Delta. “Yet the delta is in worse shape today than it was a decade ago. Throwing more money at the problem without addressing the fundamental issues to fix the delta will only allow the crisis to worsen.” Schwarzenegger said that with the risk of water rationing and rate increases on the horizon across the state, quick action is needed. But Perata said he is frustrated that the governor’s veto has stalled spending of previous bonds. “I was very upset and I still, to this moment, do not understand why you ask voters to give approval to spend money to protect their water system, which we did with Prop. 1E, and then when we want to appropriate the money, he vetoes the bill,” Perata said. [email protected] (916) 446-6723160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre “A lot of (Southern California water agencies) are very hopeful that Proposition 84 will result in money for local projects, but so far we’re still waiting for some of the legislation,” said Jeff Kightlinger, CEO of the Metropolitan Water District. “It’s been a little slow getting Prop. 84 dollars out the door.” By comparison, more than 40 percent of the transportation- bond dollars approved on the same November 2006 ballot have already been allocated. Last month, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill by Senate president pro tempore Don Perata, D-Oakland, that would have directed spending $611 million from last year’s water bonds. In his veto, the governor said he wanted to wait until a more comprehensive solution to the state’s water crisis is crafted during the current special legislative session. While California voters approved $9.5 billion in bonds to improve the state’s water infrastructure last year, little of that money has been allocated despite a lengthy drought and growing strains on the system. Political infighting and bureaucratic red tape have slowed spending of the 2006 water bonds, even as state lawmakers and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger consider asking voters for billions of dollars in additional water bonds on next year’s ballot. Only about 14 percent of the Proposition 1E water bond approved by voters last year – and about a third of the Proposition 84 water bond – have been committed to specific projects. And within Proposition 84, only about 9 percent of the funds dedicated specifically to water quality and supply projects – as opposed to flood control – have been committed.