Pujols, Ohtani make progress from season-ending surgeries
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols has been cleared to do extensive upper body work and also has begun low-impact lower body exercises as he recovers from surgery on his left knee and right elbow.
Pujols isn’t yet ready to swing a bat but continues to progress as he works with a strength coach, general manager Billy Eppler said. The first baseman and designated hitter had season-ending knee surgery in August followed by the elbow procedure in September to remove bone spurs.
“I know that he’s getting a lot of his work in,” Eppler said. “We all know the work ethic of him.”
Pujols, who turns 39 next month, batted .245 with 19 homers and 64 RBIs playing 117 games in his 18th season. He has 633 career home runs.
Two-way star Shohei Ohtani is back home in Japan continuing his rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery Oct. 1. The AL Rookie of the Year’s range of motion “is in very good shape,” according to Eppler, and he has full extension and flexion of the right arm.
“That’s a little bit ahead of schedule. That doesn’t mean he’s coming back early,” Eppler said. “All it means is that we’re very pleased with it.”
Ohtani went 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA in 10 starts as a pitcher. He played 104 games overall as a rookie, hitting .285 with 22 homers and 61 RBIs.
Recalling the day the Angels landed Ohtani, Eppler beamed: “That was just a very good day in my professional life.”
Eppler provided the updates after getting his voice back. He had been forced to hold some trade talks in a whisper.
He lost his voice after picking up a little bug from his 4-year-old son, Xander, when the boy sneezed on a pillow Sunday morning. Eppler wasn’t going to turn down snuggle time before departing for a busy baseball week in Las Vegas.
Eppler had improved by Tuesday, completing a series of minor league deals for Los Angeles.
Reaching agreements with invitations to big league spring training camp were: outfielders Peter Bourjos, Jarrett Parker, Cesar Puello, right-hander Forrest Snow, catcher Dustin Garneau, shortstop Wilfredo Tovar and righty reliever Matt Ramsey.