22 Mar 19
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
TEMPE, Ariz. — Shohei Ohtani is ready to get on the field for batting practice, the next step in his rehab, but he is waiting for the Angels to give him the go-ahead.
“I feel like I’m ready,” Ohtani said through his interpreter Friday, his last day of spring training in Arizona.
Ohtani added that he has “no frustrations at all” with how conservatively the Angels have progressed him, “but I am eager to keep moving to the next step.”
Ohtani has taken batting practice in the cage five times. He had been hitting soft toss and off a tee for several weeks previously. He also continued his three-times-a-week throwing schedule this week.
The Angels are targeting a May return for Ohtani as a designated hitter.
Ohtani also said he was thrilled to hear that Ichiro Suzuki referred to him in his retirement press conference, saying “Shohei needs to be the world’s greatest player.”
“Obviously it’s one of the most honoring things coming from someone like Ichiro,” Ohtani said. “I am thankful he went out of his way to mention my name in his retirement press conference.”
Matt Harvey and Tyler Skaggs, who each need to get to around 80 pitches in their final start of spring, will pitch in minor league games, so their workload can be controlled. Harvey will pitch in a minor league game Saturday and Skaggs will pitch Monday.
That leaves a bullpen game for Saturday’s Cactus League finale against the San Diego Padres in Peoria. Right-hander Jeremy Beasley will start. Beasley last week was named the inaugural winner of the Aaron Cox Award. Named for the Angels minor leaguer who died last year, the award honors a player for being the best teammate.
In the Freeway Series, the Angels will start Felix Peña on Sunday at Angel Stadium and Jaime Barría on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium. They will use relievers Monday.
CLARITY ON ROSTER
The Angels released veteran reliever Daniel Hudson on Friday, a day before they would have needed to add him to the roster or pay him a $100,000 retention bonus to keep him in the minor leagues.
They also optioned right-hander Jake Jewell, which left just 10 healthy relievers in camp. The Angels will start the season with seven or eight relievers, but eight seems more likely because the starters have not gotten as deep as normal this spring.
Cody Allen, Justin Anderson, Luke Bard, Cam Bedrosian, Ty Buttrey, Luis Garcia, Dan Jennings, Noé Ramirez, Matt Ramsey and Hansel Robles remain.
The Angels also sent down third baseman Taylor Ward, catchers Jose Briceño and Dustin Garneau and outfielder Brennan Lund.
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