Ohtani set to face live pitching instead of rehab

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Shohei Ohtani will not go on a rehab assignment before making his season debut with the Los Angeles Angels.

General manager Billy Eppler said Tuesday that Ohtani will instead face pitchers in simulated games. The two-way player and last year's American League Rookie of the Year, who will not pitch this season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, is set to start facing live pitching next week in Southern California.

Ohtani, who is not expected to come off the injured list before May, started hitting fastballs off a pitching machine at Angels Stadium last week.

Eppler said the Angels are taking a similar approach to what they did last year when Ohtani was cleared to hit following a three-week break caused by elbow ligament damage.