Ohtani continues to work his way back from a Grade 1 UCL sprain and an ankle procedure he underwent in October. The right-hander is in line to throw a couple innings against the Brewers during his debut, and he should get an opportunity to DH in the following days. Recently, Ohtani was able to throw a live batting practice session as well as receive some time of his own in the batters' box, which signals another step forward in his return to full health.
Ohtani (ankle, elbow) will not only be available to pinch hit on days where he is not pitching or starting at DH, but he will be available as a pinch runner as well, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Ohtani has famously been clocked as an 80-grade runner in the past, so from a pure talent standpoint, he may be the Angels' best pinch-running option late in games. This adds some minor value to his profile in leagues where owners can start him as a hitter. Ohtani will throw two innings of live batting practice Saturday and will hit in live batting practice Tuesday and Wednesday, suggesting that he is close to fully recovered from lingering ankle and elbow issues.
The Angels hope that Ohtani (ankle, elbow) will be able to make two or three starts per week as a designated hitter, though manager Mike Scioscia noted the 23-year-old's greatest impact will come on the mound, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports. "He's probably going to influence our team more as a pitcher," Scioscia said. "But that's not to say he's not going to have a chance to make a difference on the offensive end, too."
Ohtani, who is easing back to full strength from a Grade 1 UCL sprain and an October ankle procedure, threw his first bullpen session of the spring Thursday and looks on track to be ready for the start of the season. In an effort to make the lefty's transition from Nippon Professional Baseball to the MLB as seamless as possible, Scioscia said the Angels would deploy a six-man rotation to open the season, thereby allowing Ohtani to remain on the once-a-week pitching regimen he used in Japan. Though there's a good chance Ohtani will have his innings capped at some point in the second half if he stays healthy, his 100 mile-per-hour fastball and deep selection of breaking pitches could make him an elite fantasy option right away, at least on a per-start basis.
Ohtani (ankle, elbow) threw his first official bullpen Thursday, Pedro Moura of The Athletic Los Angeles reports.
Ohtani also took batting practice Wednesday, and the two-way superstar remains on track to be fully operational for the start of spring training. He shouldn't face any restrictions in camp, though the Angels may ultimately choose to monitor his workload seeing as he spent all offseason working his way back from a pair of injuries (an ankle injury that required surgery in October along with a Grade 1 UCL sprain).
General manager Billy Eppler said Ohtani (ankle, elbow) is scheduled to throw off a mound in the next two weeks, Jeff Fletcher of The Orange County Register reports.
Ohtani is steadily ramping up his throwing program as he continues to work his way back from a grade one sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. The two-way superstar also underwent ankle surgery in October, though the team remains unconcerned about both issues and expect him to be fully ready to go by the start of spring training.
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