Angels’ Shohei Ohtani to Make his First Pitching Start in Three Months

Shohei Ohtani in 2018. Photo by Peter Joneleit/CSM/REX/Shutterstock

Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani is ready to become a dual threat once again. Angels confirmed on Friday that Ohtani would make his first pitching start in three months on Sunday against Houston Astros.

The 24-year-old Japanese baseball star was out of the rotation as a pitcher since June after spraining an ulnar collateral ligament. He did, however, made a return as a part-time designated hitter in July managing 15 home runs and a .897 on-base plus slugging (OPS).

Despite bringing back Shohei Ohtani into the rotation, Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia said that the player would be on a limited pitch count on Sunday. In order to prepare himself for the comeback, Ohtani has lately thrown up to 50 pitches in the bullpen.

We will monitor that very closely,” – said Scioscia. “We will have a range, but we are going to wait and talk internally to see what he is going to be able to do and see how the game is going.”

Angels’ rush to bring back Shohei Ohtani doesn’t necessarily have to do much with winning. Although Ohtani excelled at the beginning of the season, at 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA, the team is more interested in seeing how his right pitching elbow will react to stress and will he need Tommy John surgery. If that becomes the case, Angels would prefer to deal with it as soon as possible, without risking losing Ohtani for the 2020 season.

Shohei Ohtani started his professional baseball career in 2013 with Nippon Professional Baseball’s Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. During his five years with the team, he had 42–15 record with 2.52 ERA while managing 48 home runs. In 2017, Ohtani decided to come to MLB teams choosing Los Angeles Angels as his next destination.