TEMPE, Ariz. — Shohei Ohtani tossed his water bottle towards a clubhouse rubbish can and skipped, rather landing it in a laundry bin. He laughed out loud, smiled massive as he so frequently does, then retrieved the trash and set it in the correct put.
That’s about as close to throwing as the Japanese two-way star is appropriate now.
Ohtani wouldn’t change how he handled his elbow harm late very last yr, continuing to strike for the Angels right until season’s finish even if it meant delaying reconstructive operation and his potential to pitch all over again right until 2020.
“I have no regrets about what transpired very last yr. That’s what the staff assumed about me, the prepare,” Ohtani mentioned by an interpreter. “In the finish it did not work out but I nevertheless have no regrets.”
The reigning AL Rookie of the 12 months is recovering from an Oct. 1 Tommy John operation with the hope he will be equipped to bat in the Los Angeles lineup as early as Might if all stays on plan.
“You will find a lot of variables. That’s the objective I’m capturing for but there might be some setbacks in this article and there,” Ohtani mentioned. “If not, which is what I’m trying to go for.”
At Tempe Diablo Stadium, the scene Wednesday was a significantly cry from a yr in the past when Ohtani showed up at spring schooling with fanfare and confronted a enormous media contingent following his each move. For now, the two-way star is not even on the subject as he functions out inside of.
Even the second time all over, “I sense just as anxious as very last yr, my initially yr.”
Ohtani acknowledged which is partly mainly because he is at the rear of plan with the considerable rehab and will have to “capture up to every person.”
“It is really going to be a sluggish method,” new manager Brad Ausmus mentioned ahead of his club’s initially on-subject session for pitchers and catchers. “He will get his workouts in. Ideal now he’ll be mostly inside of. We need to have to shield this guy lengthy time period, so we’re hoping for Might. But if it goes for a longer time, it goes for a longer time.”
The 24-yr-previous Ohtani spent time back dwelling in Japan this offseason doing the job by his rehabilitation, which appropriate now incorporates dry swings only in terms of his hitting preparation.
Ohtani mentioned almost everything is going efficiently at this stage.
“So significantly you can find practically nothing in my elbow, I never sense anything there. It is really been fantastic,” he mentioned. “I just need to have to watch my hard work level, consider to hold it down and pay attention to the trainers.”
Ohtani went 4-2 with a 3.31 Period in 10 begins as a pitcher. He performed 104 game titles general as a rookie, hitting .285 with 22 homers and 61 RBIs.
When the Angels are unable to wait to get Ohtani healthy to strike, they will not hurry him. He and Albert Pujols are predicted to share selected hitter duties, with Pujols playing initially on times Ohtani hits — that is, if Pujols is physically high-quality and undertaking, in any other case Justin Bour becomes an possibility. The absolutely free agent initially baseman signed a $2.5 million, one particular-yr offer in December.
“That’s why we’re stating we’re going to be extremely cautious mainly because we never want the reality that he might be equipped to DH influence him currently being equipped to pitch in 2020,” Ausmus mentioned of Ohtani.
Ohtani has approved this yr will be about what he can do at the rear of the plate.
“This period I’m of course going to be prioritizing my hitting. That’s what I’m going to aim on appropriate now,” he mentioned. “We can thrust back the pitching mainly because I’m not going to be pitching this period. So the prepare is to get back hitting initially and get it uncomplicated on the pitching side.”