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Angels’ Shohei Ohtani cleared to begin a hitting program

It appears Los Angeles Angels two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani has cleared the first major hurdle in a potential return.

According to Angels general manager Billy Epler, MRI results revealed improvement in the 23-year-old’s elbow ligament. He will soon begin a hitting program in the coming days and then be evaluated after.

It’s a major step in the right direction and gives further credence to the organization’s early optimism that Ohtani would return this season.

Unfortunately, it’s still not known if the right-handed pitcher will be able to take the mound again this season. According to Epler, the team won’t know until they see the doctor again in three weeks.

Even if Ohtani is unable to return to the mound for several more months, his bat would be welcomed by Los Angeles. Before he landed on the disabled list, the two-way player recorded a .289/.372/.533 slash line with six home runs and eight doubles.