ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani threw off a mound on Wednesday — in the final week of June, before the All-Star break, with still more than three months remaining in the regular season.
No, that does not mean he will return to pitch in 2019.
“No chance,” Los Angeles Angels manager Brad Ausmus said with a smile, stating what has long been established, regardless of Ohtani’s progression.
Ohtani did, however, tell Ausmus he felt “great” after throwing 40 pitches off the Angel Stadium bullpen mound at an estimated 50 percent intensity, 10 tosses of which involved a catcher squatting. It marked his first time throwing off a mound since undergoing Tommy John surgery at the start of October.
Ohtani has spent the past two months playing nearly every day as a designated hitter, carrying a .277/.339/.490 slash line with nine home runs and 31 RBIs through 42 games. Regardless of his prowess at the plate — encapsulated by his cycle on June 13 — the Angels fully intend to once again use Ohtani as a two-way player in 2020.
Angels pitching coach Doug White told Ausmus that Ohtani looked “very free and easy” throwing off a mound.