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OC Register: Shohei Ohtani returns to Angels lineup after rough start


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OAKLAND — At least Shohei Ohtani had something to do on Monday to take his mind off his disappointing start on Sunday.

The silver lining to Ohtani’s 30-pitch start was that it allowed the Angels to use him as the designated hitter on Monday. It was the first time in his big league career that he was in the lineup to hit the day after he pitched.

Normally, the Angels would give him the day off before and after, but his workload was so light on Sunday — when he faced six batters and retired none — that they could make an exception.

The Angels certainly would have preferred that Ohtani pitched better on Sunday. A day later, pitching coach Mickey Callaway said it was understandable that Ohtani might have such a rough game.

First, he didn’t get the volume of work facing hitters that he would normally have when rehabbing from surgery. Although Ohtani had several live batting practice sessions during the coronavirus shutdown, he only pitched in three intrasquad games during summer camp.

“As far as I’m concerned is he’s finally getting to face some opposing hitters and usually you’re doing that at the minor league level or something where nobody takes notice,” Callaway said. “That’s probably not a non-typical outing for someone going through that at the minor league level.”

Callaway also said he wasn’t concerned about Ohtani’s velocity. Ohtani averaged 92.9 mph with his fastball on Sunday. Before surgery, he averaged 96.7 mph.

He said Ohtani just needs to regain the confidence that he can throw at 100 percent without getting hurt.

“To overcome the mental part of it is almost more challenging than going through the physical part of it,” Callaway said. “He will understand at some point that he’s totally healthy and will be able to let it go.”

 

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