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Angels remain 'hopeful' injured Shohei Ohtani won't be lost for the season

For a player who hasn’t as much as picked up a baseball yet, Shohei Ohtani certainly has been making news.

Or, at least, has been in the news.

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In the 24-hour period that preceded the Angels’ game Monday, one report indicated Ohtani would “probably” have elbow ligament-replacement surgery and another said the team is “cautiously optimistic” he’ll return this season.

If either of those developments were definitive that would be news, even to the Angels, who confirmed that nothing with Ohtani has changed since he was put on the disabled list last week.

They remain “hopeful” — that’s general manager Billy Eppler’s word — that Ohtani can avoid surgery through the platelet-rich plasma injection he received Thursday.

Manager Mike Scioscia reiterated any plans for Ohtani won’t be determined for another “three or four weeks,” the time necessary to gauge the effectiveness of the injection.

Scioscia did say Ohtani has begun therapy that will continue daily on the Grade 2 sprain of his right ulnar collateral ligament.

He also suggested there’s a chance, given the proper medical clearance, that Ohtani could come back as a hitter sooner even if he is unable to pitch.

Eppler already has explained that the Angels won’t do anything that could cause Ohtani further risk of injury.

“We haven’t gotten that far, but I would think we’ll wait for direction from our medical staff to see if that’s a possibility,” Scioscia said. “We hope to have that evaluation in the next three or four weeks.”

Jabari Blash returns

The Angels’ search for production from the right-field position brought them back to a familiar name when Jabari Blash was promoted from triple-A Salt Lake and started against Seattle.

Rookie Michael Hermosillo was optioned to Salt Lake.

Blash joined the Angels for the first time on their visit to Safeco Field in May. He appeared in three games and had two hits in nine at-bats.

“For me, it’s just trying to not do too much,” Blash said. “Just put up good at-bats and compete. I get in the box and I try to shut the world off and get to work.”

The Angels have a .158 average from their right fielders.

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Short hops

Rookie Jaime Barria, who is tied for the team lead with five victories, will be recalled from Salt Lake and start Tuesday. … The Angels appear to be taking a slow approach to Kole Calhoun’s return from an oblique strain. Scioscia indicated Calhoun’s recovery likely will include a rehab assignment.

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