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Mickey Callaway on Shohei Ohtani, pitchers meetings, intrasquad games & more

On altering plans, and the challenges of facing your own team

Los Angeles Angels Summer Workouts Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Tuesday was Mickey Callaway day at Angel Stadium, with the Angels pitching coach talking to reporters on a number of topics, all touching on how this truncated 2020 season has changed things for teams.

For instance, rather than having group meetings, Callaway has been meeting with his pitchers individually. From Rhett Bollinger at MLB.com:

“We keep it to one-on-one on the days they throw,” Callaway said via Zoom on Tuesday. “We do have a group text. I think it’s been productive. They’ve had a lot of energy at Blair Field [the Angels’ alternate training site] from the reports we get. And here, I’m pleased with the way they’re throwing the ball over the plate. I think the beginning was a little rough and these guys are really focusing on the right thing. The thing I will say about this group is they definitely came in prepared.”

The fact that every day of training in summer camp to date has included only intrasquad games has been somewhat of a challenge. The Angels don’t play an actual opponent until Monday, when they play the Padres in San Diego, the first of three exhibition games for the Halos.

That was an issue for Shohei Ohtani, who walked seven of 10 batters in his first intrasquad start. From Jeff Fletcher at the Orange County Register:

“The biggest factor in his command right now has been facing his own hitters,” the Angels pitching coach said. “The day he had to face some of those guys he was a little erratic, not really wanting to throw the ball inside for fear of hitting them.”

Callaway said general manager compared Ohtani to Ivan Drago in his regimented and diligent training, and Callaway marveled at how Ohtani has essentially double the workload of most players, given his dual role as a two-way player.

From Maria Torres at the Los Angeles Times:

“He has the most difficult job in baseball,” Callaway said. “He’s got to maintain his ability to swing the bat and be productive off the mound, and that’s a very, very taxing thing every day to do. His routines are going to be key for him to stay healthy, one, and to stay productive, two.

“He does an unbelievable job and has impeccable routines throughout the day.”

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