After an elbow injury limited him to DH duty for nearly three months, Angels two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani will return to the mound this weekend.

On Thursday, the Angels announced Ohtani will start this Sunday night's series finale with the Astros at Minute Maid Park. It will be his first pitching appearance since June 6. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN's 'Sunday Night Baseball'.

"I always wanted to get back on the mound as soon as I could," said Ohtani to reporters, including Jeff Fletcher of the Orange Country Register. "Especially with all our staring pitchers getting hurt, going on the DL, it made me want to get back out there even more. Hopefully I can finish the year strong, with a month left, with no setbacks or injuries."    

Ohtani, 24, made nine starts earlier this season before going down with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He threw 49 1/3 innings and was ace-like, pitching to a 3.10 ERA (136 ERA+) with 61 strikeouts. Ohtani returned to the Angels as a DH only on July 3 and is hitting a robust .275/.352/.545 (143 OPS+) with 16 doubles and 15 home runs in 262 plate appearances.

It is likely Ohtani will be held to a strict pitch limit Sunday. He's been throwing bullpens for weeks now and did face hitters during a 50-pitch simulated game earlier this week. Chances are Ohtani will be held to 50 pitches or thereabouts Sunday. The Angels aren't going to push him too hard in his first start back, and with rosters set to expand Saturday, the team will have plenty of relievers on hand to pick up the slack.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Los Angeles Angels
Shohei Ohtani is set to take the mound Sunday for the first time since June. USATSI

When the Angels signed Ohtani over the winter, they signed him with the knowledge that he had a manageable Grade 1 tear in his UCL. The tear progressed to Grade 2 during the season, though Ohtani was able to avoid Tommy John surgery through a rehab program that included stem cell and platelet-rich plasma injections. 

"I'm not too worried. It's not my first time doing this," Ohtani added. "I had something similar in Japan. I've had success in the past. I'm not too worried about it."    

It should be noted that while many other pitchers attempted to rehab a Grade 2 tear only to need Tommy John surgery later, most don't get as far as Ohtani. If the UCL gives, it usually gives fairly early during the rehab process. Ohtani has thrown bullpens for weeks and has been cleared for big league action. That doesn't mean he's in the clear, but it is encouraging.

At 64-69, the Angels are 18 games back in the AL West and 15 1/2 games back of the second AL wild-card spot. It's easy to say they should play it safe and shut Ohtani down for the season, but his rehab work is complete. He's ready to pitch. The extra rest won't make him less likely to get hurt going forward, so the Angels are going to put him on the mound.