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Anthony Rendon progresses, Shohei Ohtani returns to mound

One Angels star on the mend, another back on the mound

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

Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon took ground balls at third base before Saturday’s game in Oakland, and continues to progress with a sore oblique.

“He felt really good. He’s going to advance it a little bit more [Sunday morning]. More swinging, more defense,” manager Joe Maddon said after Saturday’s game. “He’s definitely making progress.”

Rendon has missed the first two games, and is still day-to-day. Maddon said he won’t know Rendon’s availability in this series — potentially as a pinch-hitter — until seeing how he feels and conferring with the training staff on Sunday.

Ohtani back on mound

Shohei Othani on Sunday makes his first major league start on the mound in 693 days, and Maddon said Saturday he wouldn’t be necessarily on a pitch count, but rather have the game dictate how long Ohtani lasts in the game.

“I’m just gonna watch it, and try to react,” Maddon said.

We’re officially back to seeing Ohtani as a two-way player, something he showed in 2018 when he was the runaway winner of American League Rookie of the Year. That year gave us a glimpse of how Ohtani will be used, with a similar program this year.

Ohtani’s off days in 2018

Days (games) off before Pitching start date Days (games) off after
Days (games) off before Pitching start date Days (games) off after
2 Sun, Apr 1 1
1 Sun, Apr 8 1
3 (1) Tue, Apr 17 1
1 Tue, Apr 24 2 (1)
1 Sun, May 6 1 (0)
1 Sun, May 13 1
1 Sun, May 20 1 (0)
2 Wed, May 30 1
1 Wed, Jun 6 injured list
1 Sun, Sep 2 1

The plan is for Ohtani to get a day off before and after he pitches, which is why he sat on Saturday after starting at designated hitter on Friday night. He’ll also sit Monday.

But first comes that start on the mound on Sunday, which will be his usual day on the mound if everything goes as planned. The Angels have three Monday off days on the schedule (August 3, September 7, September 14), which allows for an off day without a game missed for Ohtani.

In the Angels’ first 60 games in 2018, Ohtani started eight times on the mound and 30 times at designated hitter.