J.A. Happ progressing slowly due to knee issue

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J.A. Happ was hit on the head with a Desmond Jennings line drive on May 7, suffering a minor skull fracture. While falling to the ground, Happ twisted his knee, and it is the latter injury that is causing him to progress slowly as the lefty has yet to pitch off a mound. Manager John Gibbons said, “Somebody’s looking at it all the time but no more X-rays. It’s just one of those things that’s just going to take time. He’ll be a while.”

Happ was one of the Jays’ more reliable starters, bringing a 3.98 ERA into that fateful start against the Rays. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm says a timetable for the lefty’s return is still unclear, but does offer this:

General manager Alex Anthopoulos was recently quoted as saying he expected Happ to be out anywhere from three to six weeks.

The three weeks would seem highly unlikely as the native of Illinois has yet to throw off a mound, and six weeks would have Happ back in action toward the end of June.

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.