Angels won’t provide timeline for Shohei Ohtani’s return to pitching in 2020

© Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

While Los Angeles Angels two-way Shohei Ohtani continues to recover from Tommy John surgery a year ago, general manager Billy Epler is making it clear that the team will take it slow with its star.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Epler declined to provide a timetable for Ohtani’s return to pitch in big league games. The team is waiting for him to complete a throwing program, which he just received clearance for in late November.

The Angels are obviously playing it safe given the nature of the injury and the surgery on his left knee he underwent in September.

While Ohtani was sidelined from pitching during the 2019 season, he still made an impact with his bat. The 25-year-old posted a .286/.343/.505 slash line with 18 home runs and 12 stolen bases in 384 at-bats.

Even when he’s cleared to return to action in 2020 as a two-way player, the team will likely continue to play it safe with Ohtani. While he might be in a limited role as a pitcher, though, his impact on the mound and in the batter’s box could make him a dark horse MVP candidate next season.