Ohtani throws 'free and easy' bullpen session

August 25th, 2019

HOUSTON -- threw an array of pitches in a 35-pitch bullpen on Saturday, testing out everything but the splitter, which he'll work on at a later time.

Ohtani said he threw sliders, curveballs and fastballs, all without incident.

"I ramped it up a little bit from the last time," Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. "I think overall, it went pretty well."

Eventually, Ohtani, who is 11 months removed from undergoing Tommy John surgery, will work his way to a simulated game facing hitters, and then will stop throwing over the winter. The plan is for him to resume his role as a two-way player next season. For now, however, the most pitching action he sees is in the bullpen, where he's slowly building arm strength while testing his pitches.

Saturday's session was another planned step.

"He looked good," manager Brad Ausmus said. "He looked free and easy."

Though he's not currently contributing as a pitcher, Ohtani has lived up to his billing on the offensive side. Entering Saturday's game, the designated hitter was batting .404 with four doubles, two triples, one homer and 11 RBIs over his past 13 games.

In his past 74 games, he's hitting .321 with 16 doubles, four triples, 14 homers and 45 RBIs.


The Angels on Saturday activated catcher from the injured list and optioned catcher to Triple-A Salt Lake. Smith missed 13 games with a lower back strain, and went 0-for-1 off the bench in the Halos' 5-2 loss on Saturday.

The 29-year-old Bemboom, whom the Angels acquired in a July trade with the Rays, batted .136 (3-for-22) in 10 games in August. He threw out consecutive would-be basestealers in the sixth inning of the Angels' 5-4 loss in the opener in Houston on Friday.

"He does a good job," Ausmus said. "He's a good defensive catcher who takes pride in working with the pitchers. He receives well. He's a rookie, really. He's played a little bit, but he hasn't been in the big leagues very much. He came to a new team with the Angels in the middle of the season, so he's learning on the fly, as well ... not only our pitchers, the way we kind of run things."

Pitching plans

Following the series with the Astros, the Angels will enjoy two off-days next week on Monday and Thursday. In between, they’ll play a brief two-game set at Angel Stadium with the Rangers.

Lefty Andrew Heaney will start Tuesday’s game, followed by Patrick Sandoval on Wednesday.