BOSTON – Los Angeles Angels general manager Billy Eppler said Wednesday that Shohei Ohtani would have already been cleared to bat as a designated hitter if the American League club wasn’t also aiming for him to pitch again this season.
Ohtani, who entered the disabled list earlier this month with a Grade 2 sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, received injections of platelet-rich plasma and stem cells on June 7 and was to be re-evaluated by the team’s medical staff on Thursday.
“(Our doctors) have said from the outset that if he was solely a DH, he would have been cleared right away,” Eppler said on MLB Network Radio.
“But because you’re wanting that ligament to heal because you’re wanting that impact on the mound, you have to wait and . . . get into a point where you feel that area has plenty of time to scar and heal.
“The three-week (PRP and rest) prescription is to buy you that time.”
The Angels are hoping that the rookie, a right-handed pitcher and left-handed hitter, can at least be cleared to bat after Thursday’s evaluation.
“I understand that (our doctor) would clear him to be able to hit if he sees the ligament is in good shape and has in fact scarred down,” Eppler said.
Manager Mike Scioscia echoed the expectation and said that while the Angels will wait for their medical staff’s evaluation, he also believes that Ohtani will “swing the bat before he’s ready to pitch.”
Ohtani, a former Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters star, is 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA in nine starts in his debut major league season and is batting .289 with six homers and 20 RBIs.
He last played on June 6, when he exited the mound after four innings with a blister.
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