Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani underwent Tommy John surgery in October of last year, which means he won't pitch at all this season. He will, however, return as the Halos' primary designated hitter at some point.
Coming into the season, estimates had Ohtani returning to game action as a hitter at some point in May, and given that May's just begun there's plenty of time to satisfy that rather imprecise timeline. That brings us to the current state of things, in which Ohtani himself is understandably ready to be rostered and put in the lineup, while the Angels are, also understandably, more inclined toward conservatism when it comes to their 24-year-old star.
On that front, ESPN's Alden Gonzalez passes along these words from Ohtani, spoken through an interpreter:
"I'm pretty impatient to begin with, so I am getting a little impatient. But as I get closer and closer, the more impatient I'm getting."
"Personally. I feel like I'm ready to go as of right now."
Ohtani wanted to play in the upcoming weekend series in Mexico against the Astros, but per Gonzalez that's not going to happen. Ohtani could be activated later in that same road trip, which takes the team to Detroit and Baltimore and ends in Minnesota on May 15.
What is certain is that the Angels badly need Ohtani back in the lineup. He's coming off a rookie campaign in which he batted .285/.361/.564 (good for an outstanding 150 OPS+) with 22 home runs in 104 games.
Fast forward to the current season, and Brad Ausmus' Angels rank a respectable sixth in the AL in runs scored, but their OPS checks in at ninth, which means they may have been a bit lucky on the runs scored front. They've also gotten poor production from the DH role using a mish-mash of players and Albert Pujols as the primary. Ohtani's left-handed power will no doubt help on all fronts. When he starts helping, though, is perhaps a source of internal tension.