Shohei Ohtani took another big step in his recovery from Tommy John surgery Saturday, mixing 10 to 12 curveballs into a 40-pitch bullpen session in which his fastball touched 85 mph. It was the first time in his rehabilitation that the right-hander has thrown breaking pitches off a mound.
“It went really well,” Ohtani said through an interpreter. “Pre-surgery, the curve hurt me the most of all my pitches. But after surgery, after throwing it today, it actually felt more comfortable than the fastball. So that’s a really good sign.”
Asked for an explanation, Ohtani shrugged his shoulders.
“Good surgeon?” he said.
Ohtani was not in the lineup Saturday. The designated hitter has been watching video and working in the cage trying to adjust a swing that has produced a .760 on-base-plus-slugging percentage and one homer in 32 games since the All-Star break. Ohtani had a .924 OPS and 14 homers in 53 games before the break.
“I feel comfortable; I feel good plate at the plate,” Ohtani said. “I’m just not getting the right [launch] angle. That’s the biggest thing. I’ve been making contact. I’m just missing it by a little bit a few times and popping up sometimes when I shouldn’t. But I’m getting closer. I should be coming together soon.”
No plans to call up Jo Adell
The Angels would like top outfield prospect Jo Adell, who was promoted to triple-A Salt Lake on Aug. 1, to get some winter league at-bats because he missed the first two months of the season because of ankle and hamstring injuries. But as of now, they do not plan to call up Adell, 20, when rosters expand on Sept. 1.
The farm system produced three-homer games on two consecutive nights this past week, with 19-year-old infield prospect Jeremiah Jackson, a second-round pick in 2018, going deep three times for rookie-league Orem (Utah) on Thursday and outfielder Michael Hermosillo hitting three homers for Salt Lake on Friday.
Shortstop Andrelton Simmons took batting practice on Saturday for the first time since suffering a left ankle sprain Aug. 3 but appears more than a week away from returning. … Brad Ausmus said Felix Pena’s surgery to repair a torn right knee ligament went well Friday, but the manager admitted: “I’ve never had a report tell me it didn’t go well, so I take it with a grain of salt. I’ve never had someone come out of surgery and say, ‘That was awful. Guy botched that one.’ ”