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Angels hoping Shohei Ohtani returns to mound in mid-May

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Per The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya, Angels GM Billy Eppler said on Tuesday that the club is hoping star two-way player Shohei Ohtani returns to the mound in mid-May. The 25-year-old two-way player underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018 and was forced back under the knife in September last year to address a knee issue. Ohtani is still expected to open the season as a designated hitter.

Ohtani did not pitch last year. He did hit, of course, posting a .286/.343/.505 slash line with 18 home runs, 62 RBI, 51 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases across 425 trips to the plate.

While he’s a full-time DH, Ohtani will be part of a revamped Angels offense that now boasts Anthony Rendon, one of the biggest free agent signings of the offseason. When Ohtani is ready to pitch, he will become the ace of a staff that otherwise features Andrew Heaney, Julio Teheran, and Dylan Bundy.

Rumor: MLB execs discussing 100-game season that would begin July 1

David Price and Mookie Betts
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Matt Spiegel of 670 The Score Chicago heard from a source that Major League Baseball executives have been discussing a 100-game season that would begin on July 1 and conclude on October 15. It would essentially pick up the second half schedule, eliminating the All-Star Game while hosting the World Series at a neutral warm-weather stadium — ideally Dodger Stadium.

In the event the Dodgers, who won 106 games last year, made it all the way through the playoffs, the World Series would be hosted in Anaheim or San Diego. The earlier rounds of the playoffs would be played in the cities of the teams involved, which might be tough since the postseason would extend into November.

Spiegel went on to describe this vision as “an absolute best case scenario,” and that’s accurate. In order for the regular season to begin on July 1, the players would need to have several weeks if not a full month prior to get back into playing shape — more or less an abbreviated second spring training. And that would mean the U.S. having made significant progress against the virus by way of herd immunity or a vaccine, which would allow for nonessential businesses to resume operations. The U.S., sadly, is faring not so well compared to other nations around the world for a variety of reasons, but all of which point to a return to normalcy by the summer seeming rather unlikely.

Regardless, the league does have to plan for the potential of being able to start the regular season this summer just in case things really do break right and offer that opportunity. Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated multiple times about the league’s need to be creative, referring to ideas like playing deep into the fall, changing up the location of games, playing without fans in attendance, etc. This rumor certainly fits the “creative” mold.