Angels' Ohtani set to face live pitching instead of rehab

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Angels' Ohtani set to face live pitching instead of rehab
Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani, of Japan, smiles in the dugout before the team's baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Shohei Ohtani will not go on a rehab assignment before making his season debut with the Los Angeles Angels.

General manager Billy Eppler said Tuesday that Ohtani will instead face pitchers in simulated games. The two-way player and last year’s AL Rookie of the Year, who will not pitch this season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, is set to start facing live pitching next week in Southern California.

Ohtani, not expected to come off the injured list before May, started hitting fastballs off a pitching machine at Angels Stadium last week.

Eppler said the Angels are taking a similar approach to what they did last year when Ohtani was cleared to hit following a three-week break caused by elbow ligament damage.

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