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MLB: Ohtani takes step toward mound return with 2nd bullpen

SAN DIEGO, California (Kyodo) -- Los Angeles Angels' right-hander Shohei Ohtani said he "took one step" on the road back to the mound on Monday after throwing his second bullpen session since being sidelined with an elbow injury for more than two months.

Ohtani tossed 33 balls to a catcher in a squat, throwing a mix of fastballs, curveballs and sliders before the Angels played the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. The 24-year-old two-way rookie said he had no issues increasing his throwing power compared to his previous session.

"At this stage, I don't feel anything out of the ordinary. But I probably won't know my physical condition for certain until I throw in a real game," Ohtani said.

"There are still some pitches I can't throw, of course, but what I threw felt fine and I built up a good rhythm. I think I can get back to enjoying baseball."

It was Ohtani's second time throwing off the mound since June 6, a day before he received stem cell and platelet-rich plasma injections in his pitching elbow.

He said he plans to increase the number of pitches in future sessions in anticipation of returning to the mound this season, though Angels' manager Mike Scioscia said Ohtani will continue rehabilitation at a pace dictated by the club's medical staff.

Ohtani had spent a month on the disabled list with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament before returning as a left-handed hitter on July 3. He is 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA in nine starts this season.

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