As baseball activities are on pause, Los Angeles Angels starter, Shohei Ohtani, continues to make progress on his road back as a starting pitcher.
Angels pitching coach, Mickey Calloway, updated reporters on Ohtani’s status during a conference all on Tuesday. According to Calloway, the Japanese phenom is throwing long toss at 180 feet, on his way to shortening his routine to 60 feet and “really letting it go.” He should be ready to throw off a mound soon.
Calloway told reporters they have a schedule in place for Ohtani to continue his progression back to full strength, but obviously, they are adapting to the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season.
Besides Ohtani, Calloway said Griffin Canning, who was cleared to resume throwing last week after being diagnosed with “chronic changes” to the UCL in his right elbow early in the spring, is throwing at about 50 percent from 75 feet.
If a season is played in 2020, the Angels competitive hopes rest largely on the right arm of Shohei Ohtani. The two-way star has not pitched since the 2018 season in which he flashed an ability to be a front-of-the-rotation starter.
In 10 starts during his rookie campaign, Ohtani was 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA, striking out 10.97 per nine innings and walking 3.83 over the same clip.
Ohtani was seen over the spring experimenting with a new pitching motion that could put less stress on his elbow as he delivers to the plate. He was technically recovered from his elbow surgery in December, but needs time to build his arm strength back up to game speed. Before the season was suspended, it was believed he would be ready to pitch by mid-May, perhaps pitching every Wednesday.
It will be interesting to see how he could be deployed over a possible shortened schedule that could include several double-headers and a less days off. The Angels might need to deploy a six-man rotation to help take some of the load off their core starters.