Mariners calling up Jesus Montero

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Jesus Montero has been a bust for the Mariners since they acquired him as a top prospect from the Yankees for Michael Pineda, but he’s hit reasonably well at Triple-A this season and now he’s on his way back to the majors.

Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that the Mariners are expected to call up Montero to provide reinforcements to a lineup that just lost Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders to the disabled list and was already without Corey Hart.

Here’s the thing, though: Montero hitting .270 with eight homers and an .800 OPS in 59 games at Triple-A looks pretty solid on the surface, but in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League an .800 OPS is nothing special. In fact, the PCL as a whole has a .765 OPS this season. He might help, but that probably says more about the Mariners’ other options than about Montero at this point.

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.