Angels right-hander/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani played catch Friday — his first time throwing since undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. The Angels tweeted video of the 23-year-old doing so, and Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times adds that he made about 60 to 70 light tosses from a max distance of “about” 12 feet (Twitter links). It’s an ever so minor first step in the electrifying young talent’s return to the mound — one that’ll be accompanied by a corresponding decline in his swinging for the time being. Ohtani’s hitting drills will be limited to soft toss for the foreseeable future, as the Halos proceed with extra caution regarding his right elbow. He’s reportedly targeting an early May return to the lineup as a DH.
More injury and rehab notes from around baseball…
- Orioles first baseman Chris Davis underwent an MRI on an ailing left hip that has kept him out of game action since Sunday, manager Brandon Hyde divulged to reporters (link via MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko). The test was described as “precautionary,” though, and Hyde indicated that Davis has been feeling better as the week has progressed. While spring stats don’t mean much, it’s hardly encouraging that Davis is 1-for-12 with seven strikeouts to begin Grapefruit League play. The soon-to-be 33-year-old turned in the worst season of his career in 2018, hitting just .168/.243/.296 with 16 home runs and a staggering 36.7 percent strikeout rate in 522 plate appearances.
- Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweets that Cardinals righty Carlos Martinez is still another five to seven days away from even being able to throw. Meanwhile, a calf strain will sideline utility infielder Jedd Gyorko for about a week. Martinez has been slowed by shoulder weakness this spring and already received a platelet-rich plasma injection, though a timetable on his readiness for game activity will remain murky until the team can see how he responds to throwing. There’s been talk of him working as a reliever in 2019, as he did late in the 2018 season. Meanwhile, Gyorko figures to be a key backup all around the infield. A longer-than-expected absence for him would open more playing time for Yairo Munoz early in the season.
- The Nationals will be without infielder/outfielder Howie Kendrick for “at least” 10 to 12 days as he nurses a hamstring strain, Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post tweets. Kendrick underwent an MRI earlier this week to evaluate the status of his hamstring after he suffered an injury during a game last weekend. Opening Day is less than three weeks away, so the strain could potentially jeopardize his readiness.
- Outfielder Nicky Delmonico has been diagnosed with a “mild” concussion, the White Sox announced Friday. The 26-year-old sustained the injury upon crashing into the outfield wall in yesterday’s Cactus League contest. Delmonico piqued the interest of ChiSox fans with a strong .262/.373/.482 slash (166 plate appearances) as a rookie in 2017, but his production cratered in 2018 as he batted just .215/.296/.373. He’s been vying for an outfield job in a mix that includes Jon Jay, Leury Garcia, Adam Engel Danial Palka and non-roster invitee Brandon Guyer. Top prospect Eloy Jimenez obviously looms in waiting, though the widespread expectation is that the Sox will keep him Triple-A for a couple of weeks to open the season, thus buying an additional year of control over the vaunted slugger.