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Shohei Ohtani’s elbow injury has healed enough that the Los Angeles Angels‘ two-way star can begin a hitting program immediately.
General manager Billy Eppler said Thursday that Ohtani underwent an MRI in Los Angeles that showed improvement to his ulnar collateral ligament Josh Sitton Color Rush Jersey , clearing him to take batting practice in private.
”That’s news I was hoping to hear,” Eppler said on a conference call.
Ohtani was placed on the disabled list with a UCL sprain June 8. He will be re-evaluated by doctors in three weeks.
Asked whether Ohtani needs Tommy John surgery that could cause him to miss the rest of this season as well as all of the 2019 season, Eppler said, ”No doctor has told me that Shohei needs surgical intervention at this time.”
Ohtani has a Grade 2 sprain, or partial tear, of the UCL in his right elbow. In hopes of avoiding Tommy John surgery, the Angels had Ohtani’s ligament injected with platelet-rich plasma and stem cells earlier this month. Eppler said he has not had additional injections.
Eppler said Ohtani will not play in rehab games but will take batting practice in a ”private and controlled environment” and could face live pitching as soon as this weekend. Because Ohtani is not a position player Austin Corbett Browns Jersey , rehab games were deemed unnecessary.
”We can control a little bit more the progression,” Eppler said. ”This allows for more freedom, structure and control.”
Ohtani has not been cleared to pitch yet.
His last appearance came June 6 in a start against Kansas City. Ohtani left after four innings with a blister and also mentioned he was feeling tightness in his elbow. An MRI taken the next day revealed the UCL in his right elbow had progressed from a Grade 1 strain to a more serious Grade 2 level.
Ohtani won four of his first five decisions before getting injured. He was batting .289 with six home runs and 20 RBIs.
”I know that not being able to play baseball competitively and only being able to train doesn’t really satisfy his appetite and his hunger to play,” Eppler said. ”He’s now one step closer. I can only assume he’s excited about it.”
Wilmer Font became the latest pitcher to slow down the New York Yankees.
Font worked into the sixth inning to get his first major league win, Willy Adames homered and the Tampa Bay Rays blanked the Yankees 4-0 Saturday.
Font (1-3) allowed three hits, one walk and struck out four over 5 2/3 innings. Four relievers completed a four-hitter.
”Just an awesome performance by him and the rest of the guys,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
The Rays have won the first two of a three-game series against the Yankees Josh Jackson Jersey Packers , who have the best record in the majors.
New York has scored just once in its last 25 innings.
”It’s amazing,” Font said. ”It’s the second win in a row for us. Perfect.”
Adames had an RBI single during a two-run second and added a solo homer in the seventh off Sonny Gray (5-5).
New York (50-24), coming off a three-game sweep over Seattle, is the only team in the big leagues that hasn’t dropped more than two straight games this year. This is the latest the Yankees have gone into a season without losing three in a row since August 1954.
”You do shrug it off,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. ”We also know you turn the page and really lock in. Come in with urgency and expect to get a `W.”’
Gray gave up four runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings.
After Jake Bauers had a first-inning RBI double, Tampa Bay took a 3-0 lead in the second when Daniel Robertson hit a run-scoring double and scored on Adames’ single.
”Definitely uplifting,” Rays reliever Sergio Romo said. ”It’s something we can feed off of Albert Wilson Jersey Dolphins , most definitely.”
The Yankees had one hit in eight at-bats with runners in scoring position, including three unsuccessful tries in both the second and third innings.
New York was limited to five hits and went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position in a 2-1 loss Friday night.
”It’s been two games,” Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius said. ”So, I don’t think it’s really, like, a big deal.”
Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka, on the 10-day disabled since June 9 with strained left and right hamstrings Adidas Steven Stamkos Jersey , will have his first bullpen session Sunday and may start a simulated game Friday. ”If you look back two weeks ago there was no way I would be able to move the way that I did today,” Tanaka said through a translator. ”It’s definitely better.”
Rays: RHP Chris Archer (left abdominal strain) felt great one day after a 20-pitch bullpen session and will take the mound again Monday. ”Highly encouraged,” said Archer, who could return around the All-Star break. … RHP Jake Faria (left oblique strain) threw 25 fastballs in his first mound session.
Rays 1B C.J. Cron doubled in four at-bats and is 5 for his last 57. The other four hits were homers. . Tampa Bay CF Kevin Kiermaier is 1 for 16 in four games since coming back from right thumb surgery.
The Rays have given up one or fewer runs in four straight home games. It ties the team record set in 2008.
Yankees: RHP Domingo German (2-4), Sunday’s starter, got his first major league win by beating Tampa Bay on June 14. He struck out 10 and allowed three earned runs over six innings.
Rays: LHP Blake Snell (9-4) had his scheduled start Sunday pushed back one day to Monday night against Washington. Cash said Snell could benefit from the extra day off given his recent workload. Tampa Bay will have RHP Matt Andriese (1-3) open a bullpen day Sunday.