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Peters optioned as Angels juggle rotation

@RhettBollinger
July 24, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- The Angels’ rotation remains in flux, as left-hander Dillon Peters was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday, two days after he threw five scoreless innings in a win over the Mariners. Infielder Taylor Ward was recalled from Triple-A to take Peters' place on the roster. Right-hander

LOS ANGELES -- The Angels’ rotation remains in flux, as left-hander Dillon Peters was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday, two days after he threw five scoreless innings in a win over the Mariners. Infielder Taylor Ward was recalled from Triple-A to take Peters' place on the roster.

Right-hander Matt Harvey also officially became a free agent on Tuesday after the Angels requested release waivers on Sunday, while left-hander Andrew Heaney doesn’t have a timetable for his return from left shoulder inflammation. Right-hander JC Ramirez, recovering from Tommy John surgery, is scheduled to make another rehab start this week after throwing 2 2/3 innings and 51 pitches with Class A Advanced Inland Empire on Sunday. That leaves the Angels with only Felix Pena, Jaime Barria and Griffin Canning in the rotation.

“We’re kind of to be determined,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “We have a general idea of what can happen as far as the rotation for the Baltimore series [Thursday through Sunday]. But some of that is subject to change based on bullpen usage.”

Canning, who gave up two runs over five innings in Seattle on Saturday, figures to get one of those starts, while rookie left-hander Jose Suarez is eligible to be recalled from Salt Lake on Thursday after being optioned on July 15.

But even if Suarez starts Thursday and Canning takes the mound on Friday, the Angels will need a starter for Saturday unless they decide to utilize a bullpen game. Right-hander Nick Tropeano could be an option to be recalled from Salt Lake, but he has allowed six runs in each of last two starts, including on Saturday.

“I can’t give you Baltimore until I see what happens the next two days,” Ausmus said. “I have a general idea, but it’s not etched in stone. Unfortunately, that’s where we’re at right now.”

Heaney, meanwhile, has been shut down from throwing after being placed on the injured list on Saturday. The Angels still believe it’s a minor injury, but it doesn’t appear likely Heaney will be ready to return once eligible.

"No clarity," Ausmus said. "He won’t throw for a couple days."

Ohtani’s rehab going to plan

With the Angels playing in a National League park for two games, Shohei Ohtani will be limited to pinch-hitting duties against the Dodgers. He made his only at-bat in Tuesday's series opener count, hitting for opener Taylor Cole in the second inning and lacing an RBI single to put the Angels on the board en route to a 5-4 win.

Before the game, Ohtani threw a bullpen session before the game and is pleased with the way his elbow has been responding. Ohtani underwent Tommy John surgery on Oct. 1 and has progressing to throwing bullpens with all fastballs.

He won't pitch in the Majors this year, but Ohtani said he’s expected to progress to throwing breaking balls off a mound soon. The plan is for him to get through the rehab process so he can head into 2020 Spring Training fully healthy and with no restrictions.

“I still have a lot of breathing room, still a lot of time where if I have some setbacks, I still have a lot of time to make up in the winter,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “I still can't tell you exactly when I'm going to stop throwing. It's going to be up to the physical team and how our season pans out."

As for pinch-hitting this series, Ohtani says he pays close attention to the pitchers throughout the game and tries to keep himself ready for any situation, even a pinch-hit opportunity early in the game.

"Just watching the game and seeing how the game's flowing is important, so I can kind of predict who I'm going to face and what inning,” Ohtani said. “Those certain situations, it helps me get mentally prepared. If another pitcher comes up, then I'll still be fine because I know their pitches and numbers and all that."

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.