Angels News: Encouraging updates on Shohei Ohtani, Griffin Canning

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim could start their seasons with both Shohei Ohtani and Griffin Canning healthy.

It has been quite a long time since the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim could say that they have a full and healthy pitching staff. Yet, after the latest word on the progress of both Shohei Ohtani and Griffin Canning, the Halos could indeed be fully stocked and ready to go when the 2020 season starts.

As first reported by Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, both Ohtani and Canning are continuing to ramp up their rehab process and have each recently thrown three live batting practice sessions at Angel Stadium. The sessions have averaged about 55 pitches each, but both are welcoming signs as the potential beginning of the season is looming in early-July.

Shohei Ohtani, who has been working back to the mound after the Tommy John surgery he underwent in October 2018, was always seen as a wild-card for the Angels in 2020. He hasn’t pitched since September 2, 2018, but the two-way star’s latest video on his Instagram account is a welcome sight for Angels fans. During his rookie campaign, he went 4-2 over 10 starts with a 3.31 ERA, a 3.57 FIP, and an 11.0 K/9 ratio.

On the other side of the coin is Griffin Canning. Another right-hander, Canning was shut down in February due to elbow discomfort. While the initial results showed “chronic changes” to his UCL, the opinion was that he could avoid Tommy John and instead rely on rehab and a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection. That appears to have done the trick, as he’s been ramping back up since mid-March and appears to be on the same timeline as Ohtani.

Like Ohtani, Canning’s rookie season was cut short in 2019. In 18 appearances (17 starts), Canning went 5-6 with a 4.68 ERA, a 4.37 FIP, and a 9.6 K/9. However, the results were somewhat tainted by three rough games in July, where he surrendered 14 earned runs over 6.2 innings of work. Taking those starts away, his ERA was 3.44 over his other 15 appearances.

With the delay to the season, and if they both continue progressing, Anaheim could roll out both Ohtani and Canning, either when the season starts or shortly afterward. Additionally, the ability to expand rosters may allow the team to run a six-man rotation and allow the right-handers an extra day of rest. That would slide them into a group that already is expected to include Julio Teheran, Dylan Bundy, and Matt Andriese, and could potentially be supplemented with one of Andrew Heaney, Patrick Sandoval, Felix Pena, or Dillon Peters.

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Regardless of the make-up, it is encouraging to see both Shohei Ohtani and Griffing Canning striding toward being ready to go for the Angels if and when the season starts.