Rendon, Teheran close to Angels debuts

Halos preach patience for Ohtani after rocky return to pitching

July 28th, 2020

The Angels received positive updates on third baseman and right-hander on Monday, as both are nearing their season debuts.

Rendon, who has been bothered by a sore oblique since July 15, could return to the lineup as soon as Tuesday’s home opener against the Mariners. And Teheran, who was a late arrival to camp after contracting COVID-19 in late June, will throw three innings and 55 pitches in Long Beach on Tuesday, with his next start potentially coming for the Angels.

Rendon fielded grounders and took batting practice for the third straight day on Monday and was almost added to the lineup. But served as designated hitter instead since he threw only 30 pitches on Sunday and was cleared to play. Ohtani was originally slated to be held out of the lineups on Saturdays and Mondays around his Sunday pitching days.

“If everything goes well today [for Rendon], there's an outside shot there’s a chance tomorrow,” manager Joe Maddon said before Monday's 3-0 loss to the A's, adding postgame that he feels more confident in Rendon's chances. “And I think what the worst would be the day after that without any kind of setbacks. So it's one of those things you want to make sure. You don't want to rush it to the point where we have a longer-term situation.”

Teheran could join the roster as early as this weekend or early next week depending on how everything goes on Tuesday. But pitching coach Mickey Callaway watched Teheran throw before their road trip to Oakland, and he believes he’s close to being ready.

“He seems to be doing great,” Callaway said. “Julio did an unbelievable job of staying on top of his top of his craft during the shutdown under the extreme circumstances he was under. He seems to be throwing the ball great. Great command. He gave even added his windup back, which he hasn't done in quite some time, so he's excited about that.”

Halos want Ohtani to relax
Ohtani struggled in his highly anticipated return to the mound after Tommy John surgery, not recording an out and giving up five runs on Sunday. But both Maddon and Callaway believe Ohtani needs to get over the mental hurdles that come with such a long layoff from pitching. Ohtani’s fastball averaged 92.9 mph, and Callaway believes there’s more in there.

“I do feel that there's room to have a little bit more confidence in letting it go,” Callaway said. “He's healthy; I think he's gonna understand that. And once we once we get that velocity up just a tad more and that confidence up where he can throw the ball over the plate, we're going to see the pitcher that we all expect.”

Maddon said he plans to have a sit-down with Ohtani and interpreter Ippei Mizuhara to convey his message.

“I absolutely believe he's applying way too much pressure to himself,” Maddon said. “So we got to lighten the mood a little bit and get him out there and playing. Just let things happen without overanalyzing it. He's going to be just fine, but I haven't had that opportunity to speak with him yet.”

Angels tidbits
• The Angels had to shuffle their rotation after threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings in relief on Sunday, as the right-hander was lined up to start on Tuesday. Lefty will now start Tuesday against the Mariners and be followed in the rotation by left-hander and right-hander .

• Left-hander has arrived to camp but has been limited to only playing catch. Fellow lefties and have also arrived at camp as well. The only player on the roster who is not in camp is right-hander , who remains on the 10-day injured list for undisclosed reasons.

• First-base coach Jesús Feliciano is currently away from the club, as Maddon said Feliciano had “something to attend to but is fine.” Catching coach José Molina is filling in for Feliciano at first base.