Astros extend GM Ed Wade through 2012

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You’re reading that correctly. After committing nearly $30 million to Pedro Feliz, Brandon Lyon, Brett Myers, Jason Michaels, Geoff Blum and Brian Moehler this offseason, the Astros have extended the contract of general manager Ed Wade through the 2012 season, reports Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. An official announcement is expected later this afternoon.

Wade was entering the final year of a three-year contract. During his tenure in Houston, Wade pulled off the trade for speedster Michael Bourn as well as Randy Wolf, who helped the Astros make a late season push in 2008. It’s tempting to jump all over the general manager for the offseason moves mentioned above, but I firmly believe that Drayton McLane’s refusal to legitimately rebuild makes Wade look slightly worse than he really is.

Shohei Ohtani medically cleared to begin a throwing progression

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The Angels released a medical update on P/DH Shohei Ohtani Thursday evening. Ohtani was reevaluated by Dr. Steve Yoon at the Kerlan Jobe Institute. The right-hander’s sprained UCL showed improved healing and, as a result, he has been cleared to begin a throwing progression.

Ohtani, 24, was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow after his June 6 start against the Royals and hasn’t pitched since, though he has been in the lineup as a hitter since July 3. It was initially believed he would undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. Then the thought was that Ohtani wouldn’t pitch again for the rest of the season, but this update suggests a possibility he could return to the mound before the season is over.

In nine starts, Ohtani put together a 3.10 ERA with a 61/20 K/BB ratio in 49 1/3 innings. As a hitter, he batted .283/.365/.522 with seven home runs and 22 RBI in 157 plate appearances.