Angels’ Shohei Ohtani progressing with Tommy John surgery rehab, now facing hitters in live batting practice


Whenever baseball returns, it looks like two-way star Shohei Ohtani will be available to the Los Angeles Angels as a pitcher. Ohtani is progressing with his Tommy John surgery rehab and last week he faced hitters in a live batting practice.

Ohtani, who is new to social media, posted video of the batting practice session on his Instagram feed:

That’s Angels teammate Tommy La Stella in the batter’s box, in case you’re wondering. The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya reports Ohtani has thrown three live batting practice sessions and is stretched out to 50-55 pitches. He will stay at that level for the time being.

Back in spring training the Angels said they expected Ohtani, who did not pitch at all in 2019, to return to the mound sometime in mid May. He’s done that, and with the regular season starting in July at the earliest, there’s a decent chance he’ll be able to open the season in the rotation. Things are certainly trending in that direction.

“Since I’m going to be waiting until mid May, I won’t be close to (throwing) 200 innings,” Ohtani told the Associated Press in February. “From there on out, I’m planning on finishing out the year. I think that’s one of the biggest responsibilities of a pitcher, to stay in the rotation healthy and try to finish out the year.”

The Angels will undoubtedly handle Ohtani cautiously once he returns to game action as a pitcher. He figures to be held to strict pitch counts and get extra rest between starts whenever possible. The proposed 30-man active roster and 20-man taxi squad will help make that possible. Ohtani’s real coming back party is scheduled for 2021.

Ohtani, 25, returned as a DH only last season and hit .286/.343/.505 with 18 home runs in 106 games. He made 10 starts with a 3.31 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings before his elbow gave out in 2018.

Andrew Heaney, Julio Teheran and Dylan Bundy are the only locks for the Angels rotation at the moment. Griffin Canning, who is rehabbing his own elbow injury, is currently throwing live batting practice.





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