Cubs prospect Kris Bryant is up to 38 home runs

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Cubs third base prospect Kris Bryant hasn’t slowed down one bit since being promoted on June 18 from Double-A Tennessee to Triple-A Iowa and slugged his 38th home run of the season on Saturday night in Oklahoma City, home of the Astros’ Triple-A team.

Bryant is now in a deadlock with Rangers third base prospect Joey Gallo — a fellow native of Las Vegas, Nevada — for the minor league home run lead.

Since being selected second overall in the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of San Diego, the 22-year-old Bryant has batted .340/.435/.691 with 47 homers and 129 RBI in 153 minor league games. He is not expected to join fellow Top 10 prospect Javier Baez in Chicago this year, but Bryant could very well be on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster in 2015. There’s been talk of moving the 6-foot-6 slugger to right field.

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.