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Harvey throws 1st bullpen since glute strain

@RhettBollinger
February 20, 2019

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Matt Harvey threw a bullpen session on the main field at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Wednesday, marking the first time he threw off a mound since sustaining a glute strain a week ago.

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Matt Harvey threw a bullpen session on the main field at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Wednesday, marking the first time he threw off a mound since sustaining a glute strain a week ago.

Harvey, who was expected to be out roughly 10 days, missed only three days of throwing. He began playing catch on Sunday before working his way up to his bullpen session, during which he threw all of his pitches.

“Everything is going good,” Harvey said. “Everything feels great. The only thing is that I’m one bullpen behind. But I’ll throw another one, then throw some live BP and get ready for games.”

Harvey said he enjoyed throwing in the stadium because it allowed him to get a better feel for the mound so that he knows what to expect once Cactus League games begin. The Angels play their first Spring Training game on Saturday against the Giants.

“It’s nice to be able to do that instead of being thrown out there the first game without knowing the ballpark,” Harvey said. “It felt good.”

Ohtani close to hitting off a tee

Shohei Ohtani met briefly with the media on Wednesday, but he had no update on when he will begin hitting off a tee, only saying it should happen soon. Ohtani, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery and is expected to return as a designated hitter in May, has been taking dry swings, but he has yet to take the next step of hitting off a tee.

"If everything goes well I should be getting started soon,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara.

Tropeano progressing

Right-hander Nick Tropeano sustained a setback with his shoulder this offseason, but he has been making progress with his throwing program, playing catch out to 100 feet. His next step will be throwing a bullpen session, which will come in roughly two-and-a-half weeks.

Tropeano said he’s hopeful to be ready to pitch in games in roughly five to seven weeks depending on how things go with his rehab. Tropeano, who is expected to open the season on the injured list, gives the Angels starting pitching depth. He has been working with Angels pitching coach Doug White to clean up his mechanics in the hopes of avoiding a similar injury.

“I've been trying to make mechanical adjustments,” Tropeano said. “Doug White has been great when it comes to that with video work and that kind of stuff. We're just trying to take some stress off my shoulder and off my elbow and use my lower half a little more."

Angels tidbits

• Right fielder Justin Upton, who is dealing with right knee tendinitis, took 50 swings in the cages and has been hitting off a tee and taking soft toss. He also played catch in right field, but he threw only using his upper body. Upton will be held back early in camp but will be ready for Opening Day.

• Angels manager Brad Ausmus was asked if superstar center fielder Mike Trout can get better, and the new skipper had an amusing response.

"Even the best players on the planet can improve,” Ausmus said. “Then they become best-er."

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