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OC Register: Shohei Ohtani to return to Angels’ rotation on Wednesday vs. Rays


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ANAHEIM — Shohei Ohtani is returning to the Angels’ rotation on Wednesday night, just two days after his start was scratched because he was hit in the elbow by a pitch on Sunday in Seattle.

Manager Joe Maddon said Ohtani actually “felt good” on Monday, the day he was originally scheduled to pitch, but they had him wait another day. He threw in the bullpen on Tuesday, and he felt good enough to get the go-ahead to face the Tampa Bay Rays.

“He was really eager to pitch tomorrow,” Maddon said Tuesday. “Like we’ve done everything else conversationally, I’m letting him tell me how he feels and we’re gonna make our decisions.”

Ohtani was in the lineup on Monday – he hit a home run – and Tuesday, and Maddon said he was tentatively planning to have Ohtani hit and pitch on Wednesday.

RENDON UPDATE

Third baseman Anthony Rendon was not in the lineup a day after suffering a left knee contusion on a foul ball, but he remained on the active roster because the Angels continue to believe he’s just day to day.

“He’s real sore, but better,” Maddon said. “He felt better today. Obviously better than he did last night.”

The Angels recalled infielder Phil Gosselin to provide infield depth while Rendon is unable to play. Gosselin was in the starting lineup at third on Tuesday night.

In order to create a roster spot, the Angels designated Scott Schebler for assignment.

“He’s done a wonderful job for us,” Maddon said. “That’s a tough one. We all like him a lot. Like him as a person. Like him as a player. Like his tool set. Everything. But based on need we had to do this right now.”

CONFIDENCE IN QUINTANA

Maddon said he spoke to pitcher José Quintana on Tuesday to assure the left-hander that he’s still confident in him, despite his 10.59 ERA after four starts.

He said Quintana also felt like he has thrown better than the results.

“He felt really good about his stuff yesterday, and I couldn’t disagree,” Maddon said. “He said, ‘I felt great. My breaking ball was as good as it’s been. I felt good with my fastball.’”

Maddon added that the peripheral numbers support their contention that Quintana has not been getting hit hard. On Monday night he struck out nine and walked one, which is usually a sign of a good game.

Quintana’s expected batting average against, which is based on the quality of contact, is .251, compared with the major league average of .248. His expected slugging percentage against is .397, compared with the MLB average of .434. The hard-hit percentage is 36, lower than the MLB average of 39.7.

“He’s been kind of unlucky,” Maddon said. “I know nobody wants to hear that, but it’s true. Is there something we can do about this? That’s what we’re working on with him.”

NOTES

With Ohtani starting on Wednesday, that pushes Andrew Heaney to Thursday, with Griffin Canning, Dylan Bundy and Quintana in line to start against the Dodgers on Friday-Sunday at Angel Stadium. …

Although Orange County is moving closer to dropping into the state’s yellow tier of pandemic rules, it will not lead to a change in the capacity for games at Angel Stadium. Although the Angels would be allowed to sell a higher percentage of tickets, the physical confines of the ballpark don’t allow them to do that while still maintaining 6 feet of distance between the pods.

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