Shohei Ohtani has been cleared to begin a formal hitting progression, Angels general manager Billy Eppler said Thursday.
Ohtani underwent an MRI on Thursday morning that showed improvement in the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Eppler said Ohtani will be re-evaluated in three weeks but will immediately resume taking batting practice.
Ohtani landed on the disabled list with a Grade 2 sprain of the UCL in his right elbow on June 8. He received stem-cell and platelet-rich plasma injections on June 7 in an attempt to heal his damaged ligament.
Even as he was shut down from throwing, Ohtani had been preparing for a potential return as a batter by taking one-armed swings in the batting cage and standing in on a bullpen session to see live pitching.
An important quote from Angels GM Billy Eppler, which he told me last week and reiterated on today's call: "No doctor has told me that Shohei (Ohtani) needs surgical intervention at this time." That doesn't mean he won't eventually need Tommy John, of course. But still.— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) June 28, 2018
Ohtani, 23, was batting .289 with a .907 OPS and six home runs in 34 games as a left-handed hitter prior to the injury. He was just as impactful on the mound, going 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA and 61 strikeouts over 49 1/3 innings as a right-handed pitcher.
Maria Guardado MLB.com