Here’s the latest from out west, with a focus on the health situations of a trio of important players …
- Athletics catcher Sean Murphy is firmly on the mend after an offseason medical scare, Matt Kawahara writes for the San Francisco Chronicle. He discussed his recovery from a collapsed lung, noting that it was quite a bit more terrifying before medical professionals informed him that he could anticipate a relatively swift recovery. Murphy underwent an additional procedure to protect against a recurrence. Though he’s delayed to open spring camp, the top Oakland backstop says he’s “really optimistic” of being fully ramped up in time to get behind the dish on Opening Day. Murphy, 26, will look to establish himself as a first-tier MLB performer after mashing out a .237/.355/.491 slash through his first 200 plate appearances.
- Angels hurler/slugger Shohei Ohtani is under the microscope as he looks to get his pitching career back on track. As Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports on Twitter, Ohtani appears to be in a good place from a velocity perspective. The righty says he’s working comfortably in the mid-nineties in bullpen sessions and has touched 97 mph. When last we saw Ohtani in top form, during his brief but scintillating 2018 debut, he was averaging nearly 97 mph with his heater. The hopefully resurgent two-way player is also now toying with a changeup as he fine-tunes his arsenal.
- Dodgers superstar Cody Bellinger seems to be making a strong bounce back from offseason shoulder surgery, as Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register writes. Bellinger, who memorably dislocated the joint in an over-exuberant NLCS home run celebration, says he’s “way ahead” of the anticipated schedule for his recovery. Given his progress to this point, the 2019 MVP says he’s “100 percent” sure he’ll be ready to roll on Opening Day. That’s obviously quite welcome news for the Los Angeles powerhouse. While the Dodgers are perhaps baseball’s deepest team, there’s no replacing a player of Bellinger’s ability. And the club is facing its sternest intra-division test in some time in the form of a talent-laden Padres outfit.