Angels’ GM Billy Eppler has been working with the Commissioner’s office on finding a solution to handling injured list stints for Shohei Ohtani, whom Eppler catalogues nicely as a player with a “dual distinction.”
With Ohtani in mind, the Commissioner’s office has passed a new rule that would allow Ohtani to pitch on a rehab assignment and return to the club as soon as the next day to perform as a hitter, said Eppler on the MLB Network Radio’s Power Alley (audio link). Essentially, the Angels can now treat Ohtani separately as a pitcher and hitter, sending him on a rehab assignment while keeping him on the roster.
Of course, that’s the hitch in the plan as well, that Ohtani would remain on the ML roster while pitching elsewhere, leaving the Angels roster down a man for a day. Eppler also reminds us that when he was healthy as a two-way star, the Angels preferred to give Ohtani a full day of rest the day before and after pitching assignments that took him past 65 pitches or so.
Still, the Angels now have the option to send Ohtani to the Pacific Coast League or the California league nearby without totally removing him from the roster. Whether that amount of travel behooves team or player in this case will be up to the Angels to decide.