PHOENIX -- Shohei Ohtani threw a partial "full-gorilla" simulated game Monday.Not to fret. That is a good thing."It was a heavy 'pen [session]," Angels manager Mike Scoiscia said. "He turned some loose. I would say he got to a full-gorilla level with some pitches, but not the whole 30-pitch bullpen."Ohtani
PHOENIX -- Shohei Ohtani threw a partial "full-gorilla" simulated game Monday.
Not to fret. That is a good thing.
"It was a heavy 'pen [session]," Angels manager Mike Scoiscia said. "He turned some loose. I would say he got to a full-gorilla level with some pitches, but not the whole 30-pitch bullpen."
Ohtani threw to rookie Arizona League hitters at the team's Spring Training facility Monday, the first time he had faced hitters since his last Major League start June 6. He has continued to be used as the Angels' DH while playing with a sprained right ulnar collateral ligament.
"I took another step forward to being back and I feel great about that," Ohtani said through an interpreter. "Right now at this point I feel like I am pretty confident I will be back on the mound this season."
Ohtani is 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA, and the Angels are 7-2 in his starts. The Angels planned to use him as a pinch-hitter in the two-game Interleague series against the D-backs at Chase Field this week.
Ohtani expected to have another bullpen/simulated game Wednesday, Scoiscia said, and both are hoping he can return to the mound in September, although no timetable has been set. Ohtaini will return as a starter and will not be used out of the bullpen. The Angels will try to get him to 45-50 pitches in a workout next week, Scoiscia said, and go from there.
"We will evaluate it every step along the way to see when he will be ready to go into a Major League game," Scioscia said. "We're going to get him out there before the end of the season, we hope."
Ohtani sounds hopeful.
"I would love to go back out there any day, as soon as possible, but of course you can't do that," Ohtaini said. "You have to take the right steps. But everything has gone well, so far, so if it keeps up, it should be hopefully soon."
Ohtani, who received plasma-rich platelet injections as part of his treatment, said he has "never really felt any pain" during the recovery process. He will gradually increase his pitch counts in his next several throwing sessions, and his timetable to return also will depend on how many pitches the Angels want him to throw when he gets back on a Major League mound.
The Angels do not have the option of having Ohtani pitch in a Minor League game because he would have to be placed on the disabled list for that to happen, which would remove him from the Major League roster.
"He wants to hit," Scioscia said "We want him to hit."
Ohtani entered Tuesday's game hitting .268 with 13 homers and 38 RBIs. He hit four homers to straightaway center field in batting practice Tuesday, one nearly reaching the video board 40 feet above the ground.
• Matthew Shoemaker is expected to throw a bullpen session at Chase Field on Wednesday, Scoiscia said. Shoemaker is recovering from a right forearm strain that has kept him sidelined since April 1.
"He is almost mirroring Shohei, where he is right now," Scoiscia said. "We'll see what the next step is."
• Alex Meyer (labrum) had begun throwing, but has been shut down again. He underwent surgery on Feb. 21.
Jack Magruder is a contributor to MLB.com based in Phoenix.