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Ohtani 'getting better' with the bat

Two-way rookie picks up third spring hit Tuesday
MLB.com @mi_guardado

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Shohei Ohtani snapped an 0-for-14 stretch in Cactus League play by singling off Minor League left-hander Colin Poche in the sixth inning of the Angels' 6-5 win over the D-backs on Tuesday at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

It marked Ohtani's first hit in a Major League exhibition game since March 11 against the Rangers. After his 1-for-4 showing Tuesday, the left-handed hitter is now 3-for-28 (.107) in 12 Cactus League games this spring. All three of Ohtani's hits this spring have been singles.

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Shohei Ohtani snapped an 0-for-14 stretch in Cactus League play by singling off Minor League left-hander Colin Poche in the sixth inning of the Angels' 6-5 win over the D-backs on Tuesday at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

It marked Ohtani's first hit in a Major League exhibition game since March 11 against the Rangers. After his 1-for-4 showing Tuesday, the left-handed hitter is now 3-for-28 (.107) in 12 Cactus League games this spring. All three of Ohtani's hits this spring have been singles.

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Ohtani grounded out to second base in his first two at-bats against D-backs left-hander Robbie Ray before flaring a 2-2 pitch from Poche to left-center field in the sixth. Ohtani's final at-bat came in the eighth against Minor League right-hander Keegan Long, who induced another groundout to second.

"They're getting better," manager Mike Scioscia said of Ohtani's at-bats. "I think sometimes as a left-handed hitter, it's good to see the lefties, and that's what we're looking for. You've got to stay on the ball a little bit longer. He did on his base hit. I thought he had some good swings, so we'll keep going."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Following Wednesday's off-day, Ohtani is scheduled to throw a bullpen Thursday in preparation for his next start on the mound Saturday. Scioscia said Ohtani will not hit in a game Thursday, so the earliest he could return to the lineup would be Monday against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

Heaney not concerned by inflamed elbow

Andrew Heaney, who will miss his next scheduled start due to left elbow inflammation, was back in the Angels' clubhouse Tuesday morning after making a brief trip to Southern California to be examined by team doctors. Heaney said he isn't concerned about the setback and feels that his condition is already improving after taking anti-inflammatory medication.

"I feel really good," said Heaney, who underwent Tommy John surgery in July 2016. "I'd rather it not be a thing, but I feel good about it."

Heaney, who had allowed six earned runs while walking two and striking out 14 over 11 2/3 innings (4.63 ERA) in four Cactus League outings this spring, will be shut down from throwing until the inflammation in his surgically repaired elbow subsides. The Angels have not put a timetable on when the 26-year-old could return to the mound.

"We're fortunate enough to be a part of an organization that really cares about players' health," Heaney said. "They are extremely cautious and careful when it comes to getting correct diagnoses. Sometimes I might feel better than what it seems like they are trying to look for, but it's always better to be more cautious than to say you're all right."

Video: CLE@LAA: Heaney strikes out Zimmer in the 1st

Camp battle

Parker Bridwell blanked the D-backs through the first five innings of his start Tuesday before surrendering three runs in the sixth on a leadoff homer by A.J. Pollock and a two-run shot by Steven Souza Jr. Bridwell departed after giving up three runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out five over 5 2/3 innings.

"Parker was great," Scioscia said. "I think early on, his ability to get to both sides of the plate and change speeds -- he had a good breaking ball -- was impressive. The third time around, he might have gotten a little tired. They've got some pretty good hitters there, and he missed a couple spots."

Video: ARI@LAA: Bridwell gets Goldschmidt swinging in 1st

With Heaney likely to open the season on the disabled list, the door could be open for Bridwell or Nick Tropeano to crack the Angels' rotation. Tropeano had appeared to have the edge entering Tuesday, but Bridwell made a push for the spot with his performance against the D-backs.

"I came in here thinking I had to earn an opportunity off the bat," Bridwell said. "That's just the kind of guy I am. I don't want to come in here thinking I'm locked in just because Heaney went down. He's not done. He's got a little inflammation. He's a resilient guy, and he'll be back in no time. I wish [good] health upon everybody on this team and every other team, but if the opportunity arises for me, then I'll take the ball when they give it to me and do my best."

Pujols takes extra reps

For the second time in three days, Albert Pujols opted to play in a Minor League game to accrue extra at-bats. Pujols, who finished 0-for-2 with two sacrifice flies and a strikeout Tuesday, is batting .278 (10-for-36) with seven RBIs in 14 Major League exhibition games this spring.

"He's feeling more comfortable in the box and wants to keep pushing that forward," Scioscia said.

Video: SEA@LAA: Pujols laughs after poking single past shift

Shoemaker's day

Matt Shoemaker started a Minor League game Tuesday, allowing one run on four hits while walking two and striking out four over six innings. The Angels have been having most of their starters pitch in Minor League games this rotation turn to make sure they get up to the pitch count they need for the start of the season.

Up next: The Angels will enjoy an off-day Wednesday before returning to Cactus League action Thursday against the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch. Jaime Barria, who is ranked the Angels' No. 7 prospect by MLB Pipeline, is scheduled to start for the Halos. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PT, and the game can be viewed on MLB.TV.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels, Shohei Ohtani