Rehabbing Ramirez throws offseason's first 'pen

January 23rd, 2018

Angels right-hander JC Ramirez, who received a stem-cell injection in August to help heal a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow, threw his first bullpen session of the offseason on Monday at Angel Stadium.
Ramirez tweeted a photo of himself throwing off the mound for the first time since suffering the elbow injury last summer and threw 20 pitches during the session, according to Nicaraguan outlet La Prensa.

"I didn't throw to my full capability," Ramirez said in Spanish to La Prensa. "It was my first bullpen, and I wanted to familiarize myself with my mechanics again and feel normal. Everything went well. I only threw fastballs, and I didn't throw them to my full capability. I'm going to do about four bullpen sessions where I'm only going to throw fastballs and gradually add more velocity. I can't be aggressive from the beginning; this is going to be progressive."
Ramirez, 29, emerged as one of the most pleasant surprises of the Angels' 2017 season, logging a 4.15 ERA over a career-high 147 1/3 innings in his first Major League campaign as a starter, though he spent the final six weeks of the season on the disabled list. Ramirez underwent several medical checkups throughout the offseason, all of which showed continued healing in his damaged elbow ligament, giving the Angels hope that he'll be able to complete his rehab without the need for surgery.

The Angels expect Ramirez to enter Spring Training as a starter, though he could have a tough time cracking the rotation with , Shohei Ohtani, , , , Nick Tropeano and on the depth chart. Given the injury history of many of their starters, the Angels have also discussed using a six-man rotation in 2018.
If healthy, Ramirez seems likely to be a part of the Halos' pitching staff as either a starter or a multi-inning reliever, as he is out of options and can't be sent to the Minors without being exposed to waivers. Earlier this month, Ramirez and the Angels agreed to a one-year, $1.9 million deal to avoid arbitration.