Los Angeles Angels pitcher and designated hitter Shohei Ohtani has been cleared to begin batting practice after showing improvement in the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow, general manager Billy Eppler announced Thursday.
A Thursday MRI showed progress in the UCL since Ohtani received stem-cell and platelet-rich plasma injections in the elbow on June 7, the day before he was placed on the disabled list with a Grade 2 sprain of the ligament.
Eppler said Ohtani will immediately begin a formal hitting progression and will be re-evaluated in three weeks with regard to his ability to pitch. Eppler would not say whether or not Ohtani will pitch again this season, but he maintained the team’s optimism that Tommy John surgery — which would likely sideline Ohtani until 2020 — will not be needed.
“No doctor has told me that Shohei needs surgical intervention at this time,” Eppler said.
—The Houston Astros will place star shortstop Carlos Correa on the 10-day disabled list with a back injury, manager A.J. Hinch told reporters.
Correa hasn’t played since Monday as a result of the injury. The 23-year-old accompanied the team to Tampa Bay for its series against the Rays, but after Correa worked with trainers and went through agility drills, Hinch announced the DL decision.
Correa is hitting .268 with 13 home runs and 49 RBIs in 73 games this season. He missed four games earlier this month with a sore side, though Hinch said the injuries are unrelated.
—Chicago Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish experienced pain in his right triceps during a throwing session and won’t be returning to the starting rotation Saturday as the club hoped.
Manager Joe Maddon said a new timetable will be formulated after the team returns to Chicago. The Cubs were optimistic Darvish was about to be activated from the disabled list after he pitched five innings at Class-A South Bend on Monday. However, the 31-year-old didn’t feel as well as he should have following the outing.
“After that game, he was complaining of something,” Maddon said. “Between then and now we’ve been trying to work through it.”
—The Atlanta Braves activated phenom outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. from the 10-day disabled list amid several roster moves.
Right-hander Brandon McCarthy is headed to the DL with right knee tendinitis. Meanwhile, right-hander Matt Wisler has been recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett, where right-hander Wes Parsons has been optioned.
Acuna has been sidelined nearly a month with a left knee contusion and mild anterior cruciate ligament sprain suffered after losing his footing while legging out an infield single in Boston. The 20-year-old is hitting .265 with five home runs and 13 RBIs in 29 games with the Braves to start his major league career.
—Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich left the game in Cincinnati against the Reds in the bottom of the first inning with lower back tightness, the team announced.
Yelich, who is hitting .289 after grounding out in the top of the first inning, has 11 home runs and 34 RBIs in 68 games. Replays showed him slowing down about halfway down the line to first base.
Yelich was replaced in the second inning by Keon Broxton, just recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs after Lorenzo Cain went on the disabled list with a groin injury.
—The Los Angeles Angels announced a series of moves, including placing Jake Jewell on the 10-day disabled list as the relief pitcher will undergo season-ending ankle surgery on Friday after breaking his right fibula.
Jewell, 25, suffered the broken leg in a collision at home plate during Wednesday’s loss to the host Boston Red Sox, his third major league appearance.
To replace Jewell, the Angels recalled right-hander Eduardo Paredes from Triple-A Salt Lake before Thursday’s series finale at Boston. Paredes has a 7.43 ERA in 11 games with the Angels this season. The Angels also selected 28-year-old right-hander Taylor Cole to the major league roster and optioned infielder Nolan Fontana to Salt Lake.
—The Baltimore Orioles recalled catcher Chance Sisco and right-hander Yefry Ramirez from Triple-A Norfolk, making room by sending catcher Austin Wynns and left-hander Donnie Hart to the club’s top minor-league affiliate.
Sisco, 23, batted .218 with two home runs and 16 RBI in 47 games earlier this season for the Orioles. He was optioned to Norfolk on June 17 and batted .353 in five games for the Tides.
Ramirez, 24, pitched in one game for the Orioles early this season, allowing three runs and four hits over 4 1/3 innings.
—Field Level Media