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OC Register: Angels’ Shohei Ohtani passes another test on way back from arm injury

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ANAHEIM — As Shohei Ohtani continues to attempt to pitch again this season, the steps of his rehab will mostly fall into two categories: no news or bad news.

So in that sense, his uneventful bullpen session on Saturday afternoon was just what the Angels wanted to see.

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Ohtani was supposed to throw about 20 pitches off the mound, to a catcher standing up, and he ended up throwing 23, including two sliders and two curves. It was his first time throwing off a mound since he was diagnosed with a damaged ulnar collateral ligament on June 7.

Afterward, pitching coach Charlie Nagy said there wasn’t much to say. It’s also not determined what’s next, although it would presumably be a traditional bullpen session with the catcher squatting behind the plate.

Ohtani, who was expected to discuss the session with reporters after Saturday’s game, has not hit any snags so far in his rehab.

“Right now there haven’t been any adjustments,” Manager Mike Scioscia said before Saturday’s workout. “It’s been terrific. I think he’s feeling very comfortable everything is sound in his elbow. As we continue to test it moving forward in the next couple weeks, we’ll get a better idea exactly where he is.”

Although the Angels are on the fringes of the playoff race, they are carefully pushing Ohtani to pitch, with the doctors’ blessing, for at least a couple reasons.

First, if he’s going to need surgery, they’d rather find out now than in the spring. Second, seeing what he can do now will help with the winter preparation, for the team and Ohtani.

“There is a peace of mind a pitcher gets knowing he’s gone out there and throw the ball the way they would in a game, whether it’s a simulated environment or pitching in a game,” Scioscia said. “It gives you peace of mind for the offseason, but it’s not something you can force.”

GOOD IMPRESSION

Right-hander Taylor Cole, one of the leading candidates to be the first reliever to pitch in a bullpen game on Sunday, has allowed three runs in 17 innings so far with the Angels.

“Taylor is an interesting guy,” Scioscia said earlier this week. “He’s multi dimensional. He can give you multi innings in the pen. He’s got a power changeup and slider to go with a really good fastball. He’s got some plus out pitches, a plus fastball.”

Cole, 28, signed a minor league deal with the Angels just before spring training. He had pitched one major league inning previously with the Toronto Blue Jays. He was charged with four runs. He also suffered a broken toe in that game.

“I learned a lot from my experience in just one inning last year,” Cole said Saturday. “It didn’t go the way I wanted it to. I was able to reflect on things I could adjust to make things better for me.”

Cole said Triple-A pitching coach Erik Bennett and Nagy have both helped bring out the best in him this year.

“Those guys have been awesome,” Cole said. “Benny has done a great job of helping me get better at my strengths and trusting my stuff. I’ve been able to run with that.”

ALSO

Matt Shoemaker (forearm nerve surgery) threw another bullpen session on Saturday. Shoemaker will still have to throw an extended bullpen session with breaks to simulate multiple innings — an “up-down bullpen” — before he can move forward to pitching in minor league games. Scioscia said when Shoemaker was rehabbing this injury last year, he didn’t feel the symptoms until he got up to 40 or 50 pitches…

Nick Tropeano (shoulder) still hasn’t thrown since going on the DL on Tuesday, Scioscia said.

Scioscia said Andrew Heaney is pitching on Monday instead of Sunday simply because the Angels wanted to give him an extra day of rest. “These guys are getting to a stage where if we can give them the extra day, we want to take advantage of it,” he said.

UP NEXT

Angels (TBA) vs. A’s (RHP Trevor Cahill, 4-3, 3.12), Sunday, 1 p.m., Fox Sports West, KLAA (830 AM).

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