Angels’ Ohtani set to face live batters

Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani threw 20 fastballs during a bullpen session Saturday as he progresses toward a potential return to the mound this year.

It was Ohtani’s fourth pitching session this month as he continues to recover from a sprained ligament in his throwing elbow. He threw a 33-pitch session on Aug. 13.

“It was just a lighter one,” Ohtani said Saturday through his interpreter, via MLB.com. “I just wanted to check my form and my timing.”

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said the next step in Ohtani’s rehabilitation is likely to be facing live hitters when the team travels to Arizona for a two-game series against the Diamondbacks beginning Tuesday.

“I know his workout in Arizona will probably be more aggressive than today,” Scioscia said. “He’ll do what he needs to do in his pen (session).”

Ohtani, the 24-year-old two-way player from Japan who has 13 homers and 38 RBIs principally as a designated hitter in his rookie season, has gone 4-1 with 61 strikeouts and a 3.10 ERA in nine starts for the Angels.

He hasn’t pitched since June 6 after sustaining a sprained ligament in his right (throwing) elbow that required rehabilitation. The team is hoping that Ohtani can avoid Tommy John surgery through patient rehab.

–Field Level Media

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