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OC Register: Shohei Ohtani is OK with Angels’ plan, but says he could have been ready sooner

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TEMPE, Ariz. — A day after the Angels revealed their plan to give Shohei Ohtani a late start as a pitcher, Ohtani said it was not a concession he needed.

“I was getting prepared to start on Opening Day, but if that is what the team wants me to do, then I’ll be prepared to delay my debut,” Ohtani said through his interpreter after the first official workout of the spring on Wednesday. “I don’t see any problems.”

Ohtani finished his rehab from Tommy John surgery in December, three months later than scheduled because of knee surgery. The Angels decided to give him more rest, and also preserve his innings for later in the season, so they are opting to have him wait until mid-May to begin pitching in major league games.

Ohtani said he “probably could’ve made it (by Opening Day), but they told me a while ago that I’d be waiting until mid-May, so that’s where my mindset is right now.”

Also on Wednesday, Major League Baseball officially released its 2020 rule changes, including the two-way player designation that essentially applies only to Ohtani.

Because Ohtani qualifies as a two-way player, he does not count against the limit of 13 pitchers that a team can carry on its 26-man roster.

INJURY UPDATES

Félix Peña, who had knee surgery last August, said he is not sure if he will be ready for Opening Day.

“I don’t have a date yet,” he said through an interpreter. “I’m not too certain, but I’m working hard for (Opening Day).”

Peña has been throwing off a mound. He said he’s cleared for all baseball activity, and he will even start fielding practice soon.

Max Stassi said he is hoping that he’ll be back from his hip surgery in time for the opener, although he’s still slightly behind the other catchers in camp.

“I anticipate myself being ready for opening day,” he said. “I feel better than ever, honestly, with the rehab that I’ve done and the surgery that I’ve had.”

ALSO

Patrick Sandoval and Jason Castro missed the first workout because of the flu. A few other players have also been sick, to a lesser degree, Manager Joe Maddon said. …

Fox Sports West will again broadcast almost all of the Angels’ spring training games. The only games they won’t show are on split-squad days, when they will air just one of the games. Terry Smith and José Mota will again handle the play-by-play.

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I hope the late start is really about just limiting his innings overall this year.

I would rather have him start in late May and be able to pitch longer in games than have him start opening day and have to come out of every game by the 5th.

Remember when there was so much controversy about shutting down Strasburg with a month left in the season where some said “Why didn’t they just have him start a month late so we can have him in September?”

Maybe that’s what’s going on?

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4 hours ago, Dtwncbad said:

I hope the late start is really about just limiting his innings overall this year.

I would rather have him start in late May and be able to pitch longer in games than have him start opening day and have to come out of every game by the 5th.

Remember when there was so much controversy about shutting down Strasburg with a month left in the season where some said “Why didn’t they just have him start a month late so we can have him in September?”

Maybe that’s what’s going on?

Exactly. 

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I would have him start at the beginning on May and then skip his turn in the rotation a few times throughout the year. Treat him like an NBA player in foul trouble.

There is a chance he has some set backs at some point along the way this year so if he’s ready to go they shouldn’t waste too much healthy time at the front of the season.

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