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Shohei Ohtani homers in first at-bat since pitching shutdown

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SEATTLE — Limited to the batter’s box for the rest of this season, Shohei Ohtani is still helping the Los Angeles Angels.

Ohtani homered Thursday against the Seattle Mariners in his first plate appearance since being shut down as a pitcher for the rest of the year with a right forearm strain.

The two-way Japanese sensation drove a 1-0 pitch from Taijuan Walker out to the opposite field just beyond the leap of left fielder Dee Gordon.

It was Ohtani’s third home run of the season, all coming against the Mariners. Ohtani homered twice last week at home against Seattle.

The Angels shut down Ohtani’s arm for the truncated season after he strained the flexor pronator mass near the elbow. His recovery from the strain requires him to abstain from throwing for four to six weeks, which covers most of the shortened 2020 season.

Ohtani had Tommy John surgery and did not pitch during the 2019 season. He made two starts this year, struggling with his command and velocity in both.

Ohtani said Wednesday that he would like to continue being a two-way player for the Angels, but if the club asked him to consider focusing on one or the other he’d listen.

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”