Shohei Ohtani Cleared to Pitch for 1st Time Since Elbow Injury

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJuly 19, 2018

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani throws against the Seattle Mariners during a baseball game, Sunday, May 6, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Angels got good news ahead of the second half of the 2018 MLB season.

The team announced on Thursday that Ohtani has been cleared to resume pitching activities after being re-evaluated: 

The two-way phenom had been limited to just hitting since being placed on the disabled list back in early June after being diagnosed with a Grade 2 UCL sprain. The injury threatened to keep him off the mound for the rest of this season—and possibly until 2020.

Ohtani has hit .333/.458/.792 with one home run, two doubles and two RBI in 11 appearances since being activated after missing nearly a month of action. He is hitting .283 with seven home runs, 10 doubles and 22 RBI overall at the plate this season.

As solid as he has been at designated hitter, though, Los Angeles misses his arm in the rotation. He is 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP in nine starts, striking out 61 batters in 49.1 innings this season.

The right-hander has not pitched in a game since June 6.

If Ohtani can indeed make his way back to the mound this season and avoid Tommy John surgery, it would be a major relief for the Angels. Not only does the organization have high hopes for him for the future, but it has also been hit hard by the injury bug this season. The rotation has already lost Garrett Richards, John Lamb and J.C. Ramirez to Tommy John surgery, with reliever Keynan Middleton also going under the knife.

Southpaws Andrew Heaney and Tyler Skaggs have both put together solid seasons, but with how injury-riddled the pitching staff has been this year, getting Ohtani back would provide a huge boost.

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