Shohei Ohtani is inching closer to getting back on the mound for the Los Angeles Angels.
The Los Angeles Angels were one of the teams expected to benefit from the extended pause due to the coronavirus pandemic. With the injuries to Shohei Ohtani and Griffin Canning, the Angels already questionable rotation was that much thinner. Now, with the season being paused, both pitchers could be back in time for whenever Opening Day occurs.
As it stands, one of those pitchers is getting ever closer to returning to the mound. According to pitching coach Mickey Callaway, Ohtani has been throwing from 180 feet, then shortening his tosses to 60 feet and letting loose.
If the season had started on time, Ohtani had been expected to return sometime around the middle of May. He was going to continue his throwing program while serving as the Angels’ primary designated hitter, allowing him to be another power bat in the lineup as he worked his way back to the mound.
At this point, Ohtani is still on that same timeline. While he should return to the mound in the near future, he will still need to build up his arm up to be ready when the season begins. Of course, with baseball on hiatus, it is much easier for Ohtani to work his way back.
The Angels will certainly need him to be at his best. Despite their postseason aspirations, they once again find themselves with a patchwork rotation with several question marks. Although he only threw 51.1 innings as a rookie, Ohtani showed the promise that he could be the ace the Angels desperately need. He posted a 3.31 ERA and a 1.161 WHiP, striking out 63 batters with 22 walks.
Yes, it is a small sample size. But that also gave the Angels a hint as to what Ohtani could be – a viable two way star that the game had not seen since the days of Babe Ruth and Martin Dihigo. It is certainly a lofty billing, but Ohtani may well be able to join those ranks.
The first step is to get back on the mound. The Los Angeles Angels star is moving closer to that goal, and could be ready once the season begins again.