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OC Register: Angels’ Shohei Ohtani hits off a tee for the first time since surgery


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TEMPE, Ariz. — Shohei Ohtani advanced to the next step in his rehab by hitting off a tee on Friday.

After about two weeks of taking swings without a ball, Ohtani stepped up his rehab by spending 15 minutes hitting balls.

The Angels have given no public timeline for the individual steps in Ohtani’s rehab from Tommy John surgery, but manager Brad Ausmus said it’s realistic to expect him to be ready to be the Angels designated hitter in May.

His next step will be hitting balls flipped from a coach, followed by batting practice thrown by a coach, and then live batting practice against a pitcher.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler said the team would not introduce a new hitting element in the same week as a new pitching element, which could slow his rehab somewhat. Ohtani said he’s expecting to start throwing sometime around the end of spring training.

ALSO

Rain pelted the Phoenix area for a second straight day, limiting the Angels workouts. They delayed the start of the workout because of morning rain, and then were able to squeeze in only about an hour on the field before the rain returned. Hitters have been hitting and pitchers have been throwing in the indoor cages, so the biggest issue is the lack of time for defensive work. The Angels may also be limited even in subsequent days because there are no tarps for their practice fields, which have have taken on significant water…

Matt Harvey is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Saturday, his second time on the mound since missing a few days with a strained glute. Harvey is one bullpen session behind the other starting pitchers. …

Zack Cozart and Jonathan Lucroy are expected to be in the lineup for Saturday’s Cactus League opener against the San Francisco Giants. Most of the other regulars, including Mike Trout, will begin playing in the coming days.

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