Shohei Ohtani cleared to throw from a pitching mound
After having served only as the team’s designated hitter in 2019, Los Angeles Angels’ two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani has been cleared to throw off of a pitching mound again, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com. Angels general manager Billy Eppler stated these thoughts on Tuesday to the media, which creates a bit of buzz surrounding the Angels as the team goes into free agency with a need to actually and finally give Mike Trout good players around him.
The 2018 American League Rookie of the Year award winner, Ohtani has been a great addition to the Angels, even if injuries have plagued him a bit since coming over to the United States. Having undergone left knee surgery to repair the bipartite patella, he has now progressed through his rehab for his knee and his Tommy John surgery to be able to ramp his activities back up.
Ohtani was originally complaining of knee pain back in September when he was throwing off of a mound, which led to the diagnosis and need for surgery, but now he is able to resume his elbow rehab and recovery in preparation to get ready for the 2020 regular season.
Having served as the team’s designated hitter in 106 games last year, Ohtani hit .286/.343/.505 with 18 long balls and 62 runs driven in across the 2019 season. Showing his offensive prowess is just as developed as his pitching, Ohtani even managed to hit 20 doubles and 5 triples while swiping 12 bags.
With an unconfirmed schedule of pitching once a week and DH-ing three to four times a week for Ohtani’s 2020 season, his workload seems to be shifting a bit while he gets back into the saddle and back to full playing performance. Having made 10 starts in his rookie season, Ohtani’s 51 ⅔ innings pitched is just a brief look at what he can bring to the table, especially if he can distribute a 3.31 ERA and 63 strikeouts over a full-season length of games.