Manager Brad Ausmus said Tuesday that Shohei Ohtani will not join the Angels this weekend in Monterrey, Mexico, ruling out Ohtani joining the lineup until May 7 at the earliest.
“They want to progress it slowly, from a medical standpoint, to make sure he’s not overloaded on his [surgically repaired right] elbow,” Ausmus said.
The Angels planned for Ohtani to get 40 at-bats in simulated games. He reached the 25 mark after taking five at-bats against a left-handed pitcher Monday.
To this point, Ohtani has not experienced a setback in his rehabilitation. He’s hit on a regular basis since the beginning of February and has incorporated flat-ground throwing without reporting discomfort.
But the Angels prefer to be cautious. They will continue his hitting program in Anaheim, likely beyond 40 at-bats, until they can be sure the stress of hitting major league pitching will not undo the progress he’s made since undergoing ligament replacement surgery on his throwing arm in October.
The Angels begin a four-city, 11-game trip Saturday when they face the Houston Astros for two games at the Estadio de Beisbol in Monterrey. The Angels’ next homestand begins May 17.
Heaney making progress
Andrew Heaney threw his third bullpen session since receiving a cortisone shot in his inflamed left elbow Tuesday. The format emulated a game situation: He sat between two innings for eight minutes then continued throwing. He threw 35 pitches and made use of his entire arsenal.
The next step for Heaney, who has been sidelined since spring training, is to face live hitters. Ausmus wasn’t sure when that would be.
“I gotta get past the hurdles before we start planning anything further,” Heaney said, and added, “Today was a good day. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.”