Angels GM reveals how new rule change will help Shohei Ohtani

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

If the Los Angeles Angels are going to compete this season, they’ll need two-way star Shohei Ohtani to be fully recovered from his elbow injury. Fortunately, general manager Billy Eppler revealed a new MLB rule change that could help Ohtani recover from his injury while he keeps playing this season.

In an interview with MLB Network on SiriusXM, Eppler shared how a new rule change could allow the Angels to send Ohtani on a minor-league rehab assignment as a pitcher and still allow him to contribute as a hitter in the Angels’ lineup.

Ohtani, who remains without a timetable for a return from his elbow injury, continues to recover from Tommy John Surgery. More than a year after undergoing surgery, Ohtani was cleared to throw off a mound in November.

Eppler detailed how he spent a year working with MLB officials to find a way for the league to handle the unique situations two-way players are in.

Whereas, previously, a player on the injured list serving a rehab assignment couldn’t contribute to an MLB team, that is now possible under the new rule change. As a result, Ohtani could pitch in a rehab start one day and then start in the Angels’ lineup the following day.

While the rule would limit the Angels to a smaller lineup the day Ohtani is making a rehab start, the flexibility it allows the organization is beneficial.