Scott Rolen working his way back from shoulder surgery

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Scott Rolen has already missed five weeks following shoulder surgery that was initially expected to sideline him 4-6 weeks, but the third baseman with a lengthy history of shoulder problems said yesterday that he remains hopeful about playing again this season.

Rolen spent the weekend fielding ground balls and taking swings in the batting cage, telling Jeff Wallner of MLB.com that he’s “close to getting back on the field” and “not too far away.”

He hit just .242 with five homers and a .676 OPS in 65 games before the surgery, but Rolen explained that going under the knife has strengthened his shoulder. Because the Triple-A seasons ends later this week a rehab assignment may not be an option by the time Rolen is ready for game action and he hasn’t faced live pitching since July 20.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.