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Ohtani on track to pitch in Detroit series

Phenom throws light session, potentially in line for Wednesday
MLB.com @mi_guardado

NEW YORK -- The Angels' plans for inserting Shohei Ohtani back into the rotation have begun to emerge, as the two-way phenom threw a light bullpen session at Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon, putting him on track to potentially pitch Wednesday in Detroit.

Ohtani had been expected to face the Yankees on Sunday, but the Angels decided to push his start back because of "workload management." The Angels have not announced when Ohtani will pitch next, though he typically throws a light bullpen session four days before his starts and a heavier bullpen two days later.

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NEW YORK -- The Angels' plans for inserting Shohei Ohtani back into the rotation have begun to emerge, as the two-way phenom threw a light bullpen session at Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon, putting him on track to potentially pitch Wednesday in Detroit.

Ohtani had been expected to face the Yankees on Sunday, but the Angels decided to push his start back because of "workload management." The Angels have not announced when Ohtani will pitch next, though he typically throws a light bullpen session four days before his starts and a heavier bullpen two days later.

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"We do anticipate, if everything goes well, that he's pitching sometime in Detroit," manager Mike Scioscia said. "As always, we will see how he is in between. We have no reason to think anything is different. He'll throw a light [bullpen], then we'll get into a full gorilla [bullpen] and then we'll see when he folds back in."

The Angels open a four-game series at Comerica Park on Monday afternoon.

Ohtani would have matched up with Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka had the Angels kept him on schedule in the rotation; now it's likely he'll have a chance to bat against his countryman on Sunday.

"Not so disappointed because I have a pretty good chance of facing him as a hitter," Ohtani said this week. "Either way, I'll get to face him. Down the road I'll probably have a chance to face him as a pitcher also, so I just need to focus on my next game and not think too far ahead."

Ohtani faced Tanaka in 2013 as a 19-year-old rookie in Japan, going 0-for-11 with six strikeouts, a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Tanaka went 24-0 for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles that year before landing a seven-year, $155 million contract with the Yankees.

Worth noting
• The Angels deployed a rookie battery against the Yankees on Saturday, as right-hander Jaime Barria was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake to make his sixth appearance for the Angels and Jose Briceno started behind the plate in his MLB debut.

"Those guys have a little bit of familiarity from Triple-A," Scioscia said. "I think the challenge is to go out there and get into your game the way you did in Salt Lake and the way you made your pitches and the way you called your game back there for him and not letting anything else be a distraction. I think those guys will be able to do that."

• The Angels optioned outfielder Michael Hermosillo on Friday night to clear a roster spot for Barria. Hermosillo, who is ranked the club's No. 9 prospect by MLB Pipeline, went 2-for-6 over four games in his first stint in the big leagues.

"No doubt, you see the tools," Scioscia said. "We're very excited about Michael, about his upside. ... If he reaches his potential, he's going to be a very, very good Major League outfielder."

Ian Kinsler received a day off Saturday, with Zack Cozart starting in his place at second base and Luis Valbuena playing third. Kinsler is batting just .185 with a .532 OPS in 37 games this season.

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

Los Angeles Angels, Shohei Ohtani