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Shohei Ohtani throws bullpen session

Ohtani has been the Angels’ designated hitter in each of the past five games despite being hit on his pitching thumb by an errant foul ball in the dugout on Wednesday. He threw a bullpen session before starting at DH in the series opener against the Rangers.

Instead of waiting for the Freeway Series against the Dodgers beginning Friday, manager Joe Maddon said Ohtani could pitch in Texas.

“He felt good,” Maddon said of Ohtani. “He’s a candidate [for Wednesday].”

As for Ohtani’s hitting, the Major League home run leader hit 22 of his 37 dingers in June and July, posting an OPS of 1.186. He’s the first back-to-back AL Player of the Month since Josh Hamilton in 2012.

Since the All-Star Game, Ohtani is hitting a more pedestrian .255 with four homers.

“He might be in a little bit of a lull right now post All-Star break, and a lot of that is protectionism — we need to get some guys healthy to hit behind him that’ll cause teams to pitch to him,” Maddon said. “Right now, nobody really wants to throw him a strike. These are things that’ll get better as we get healthy. Everything is interconnected. As we get well, he’s going to get hot.”

Center fielder Brandon Marsh, who has started all 15 games since he was called up on July 18 in the wake of injuries to Mike Trout and Justin Upton, was hitting just .182 going into Monday’s game, but Maddon likes how the 23-year-old looks.

“One thing, he hasn’t had a lot of hits, but I like his game a lot. I like the way he moves,” Maddon said. “Here’s a guy, just give him time, he’s going to get real hot. He’s going to take exactly what he’s done in the Minor Leagues and do it here. The biggest thing that he has to do right now is stay in command of his strike zone and not get out of it, and not try to do too much. He will, and as he does that, he’s going to get very toasty.”

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