Shohei Ohtani Inches Closer To Angels' Lineup Return Amid Playoff Push

Photo: Instagram/Shohei Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani is on the cusp of making a comeback to the Los Angeles Angels' lineup, having engaged in batting cage sessions and other baseball-related activities on Thursday.

This promising development comes after Ohtani suffered a strain to his right oblique muscles earlier in the week, sidelining him for several games.

Although he wasn't featured in the starting lineup for the fourth consecutive game against the Cleveland Guardians, Angels' manager Phil Nevin hinted at the possibility of Ohtani being available as a pinch-hitter.

Photo: Instagram/Shohei Ohtani

Nevin conveyed his optimism about Ohtani's imminent return, despite the setback in his pitching season. Ohtani had expressed eagerness to return to action only a day after sustaining the oblique injury during batting practice, but the Angels' caution prevailed. According to Nevin, the utmost priority is ensuring Ohtani's complete recovery, given the risk associated with oblique muscle injuries.

Ohtani continues to dominate the race for his second AL MVP award in three years, boasting 44 home runs (just two shy of the MLB lead), 95 RBIs (ranking sixth in the majors), and a league-leading 1.066 OPS. However, the Angels have been in a downward spiral, losing six consecutive games and 13 out of their last 16, which has pushed them out of the AL playoff contention.

Despite earlier season-ending pitching injuries, Ohtani remains determined to contribute as a hitter. Meanwhile, another significant development for the Angels is the progress of Anthony Rendon, who took swings off a tee on Thursday.

This marked Rendon's first announced baseball activity since sustaining a deep bone bruise on his leg on July 4th, and it offers a glimmer of hope for his return to the lineup.

Read Next: Dodgers' Mookie Betts Leaves Stadium On Crutches After Win

Source: AP News

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