Baseball / MLB

Angels' Shohei Ohtani moves closer to return

Kyodo

It appears increasingly likely that Shohei Ohtani will return to active duty with the Los Angeles Angels within a week after saying Wednesday his rehab from surgery was on course.

After Ohtani had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Oct. 1, the Angels projected the two-way player might be ready to return to the batting order as a designated hitter in May.

The Angels will play two games in Monterrey, Mexico, on Saturday and Sunday, and manager Brad Ausmus has said Ohtani will not take part. The Angels will be in Detroit to play the Tigers on Tuesday, when it looks like Ohtani may be ready.

Speaking seven months after the surgery on his pitching elbow the 24-year-old told reporters, “I’ve been coming along according to plan. This is the time, more or less that we had decided on well before.”

Ohtani entered the final stage of his preparations on April 24, when he began taking live batting practice against minor league pitchers. With seven practice plate appearance on Wednesday, Ohtani now has 32 under his belt.

Ausmus had used 40 plate appearances as a prerequisite for Ohtani’s return. But the skipper said Wednesday he didn’t know how many more the American League’s 2018 Rookie of the Year would need.