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Ohtani faces live pitching, nears return for Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Los Angeles Angels slugger Shohei Ohtani has faced live pitching to begin the probable final step in his return from Tommy John surgery.

Ohtani, last season's AL Rookie of the Year, made four plate appearances Wednesday in a simulated game at Angel Stadium, several hours before the Angels faced the Yankees.

He drew two walks and hit a line drive into the gap.

Ohtani is expected to face about a week of live pitching before he returns to the Angels' lineup. He isn't expected to have a minor league assignment.

The Angels have long projected that Ohtani would return as their designated hitter in early May.

Ohtani had Tommy John surgery Oct. 1. He won't pitch again until 2020.