Red Sox, Padres “pushing hard” for reliever Joel Zumaya

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Free agent reliever Joel Zumaya worked out in front of 50 scouts from 20 different MLB teams last month.

And he clearly made a positive impression.

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Red Sox and Padres are among a group of major league clubs “pushing hard” to sign Zumaya.

The 27-year-old right-hander missed all of the 2011 campaign due to major elbow surgery and hasn’t pitched more than 39 innings in a season since his rookie year in 2006, but reports had him hitting the mid-90s with his fastball in that December workout. He could be a real asset as a middle reliever or setup man if health is finally on his side.

Zumaya boasts a superb 3.05 career ERA and 9.0 career K/9. His fastball averaged 99.3 mph in 2010.

Shohei Ohtani medically cleared to begin 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.