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OC Register: Angels’ Shohei Ohtani moves to batting practice on the field

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OAKLAND — Shohei Ohtani’s rehab as a hitter has reached the field.

Ohtani began taking batting practice on the field Wednesday, the first time he’d done that since undergoing Tommy John surgery. Ohtani remained in Anaheim while the Angels traveled to Oakland for Opening Day.

Ohtani was scheduled to hit again Thursday, prompting general manager Billy Eppler to say it is “very encouraging.”

The Angels are still planning on having Ohtani in the lineup as their DH for the first time sometime in May. Ohtani’s next step will be facing live pitching, initially in a live batting practice setting and then in simulated games.

“He’s checking the markers relatively when we feel he’s got a chance of checking that box,” Eppler said. “He’s moving along. A lot of the plan is derived off of him rather than … it’s not made in a back room somewhere. It’s more of how he feels as he goes through each kind of new layer of progression.”

Eppler said Ohtani will continue to increase his throwing, both in intensity and volume. He is playing catch three days a week.

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