The Los Angeles Angels two-way star, Shohei Ohtani, took the mound for his 2nd start of the 2020 season, but couldn’t even make it out of the 2nd inning.
Ohtani, 26, who is trying to comeback from 2018 Tommy John surgery, struggled again with his control and find the strike zone as he was pulled in the 2nd inning of Sunday’s game against the Houston Astros, at the Big A in Anaheim, California.
Last Sunday, in Ohtani’s first MLB start since September 2018, he failed to record an out and was pulled from that game as well but in the first inning without retiring a single batter.
Angels manager, Joe Maddon, wasted no time for the 2nd straight week and pulled the 2018 AL Rookie of the Year Award winner from the game as Ohtani’s struggles continued.
We know Ohtani can pitch — he threw 51 2/3 innings with 63 strikeouts and a 3.31 ERA in 2018 — but these arm troubles have been a persistent issue since he made the jump to MLB from Japan 2 years ago.
After his Sunday start against the Astros, Ohtani reported discomfort in his arm. Given that he underwent such a major procedure not so long ago, this is obviously a concerning turn of events for Ohtani and the Angels.
“I thought it was fatigue, from where I was standing,” Angels skipper Joe Maddon said. “We were trying to get him out there as quickly as we could at that point. There was also the chance that he could get through it, and then I wasn’t certain if he’d be able to continue or not. It was one of those cusp situations. I thought he was just out of his delivery at that point.”
Ohtani did throw noticeably harder in his second start. His fastball averaged 92.9 mph and topped out at 94.7 mph first time out. On Sunday he averaged 94.4 mph and topped out at 97.1 mph. In 2018, his first MLB season, Ohtani averaged 97.3 mph and topped out at 101.9 mph with his heater. Sunday was good progress, but he’s still got a ways to go.
The Angels plan to use a 6-man rotation this season and start Ohtani once a week, mostly on Sundays because they have frequent off-days on Monday. Ohtani doesn’t play the day before or after starts. The other days he serves as the DH. Ohtani is 4 for 27 (.148) with two home runs this season and is a .281/.345/.528 hitter in 216 big-league games. Those plans of course are on hold pending the resutls of Ohtani’s MRI.
The Angels have already been without their Superstar Mike Trout who’s been away from the team on paternity leave since last Thursday, as his wife Jessica, gave birth to their first-child, Beckham, on July 30th.
Today is an off-day for the Angels and Trout is scheduled to return to the team on Tuesday, but it’s still uncertain when the Halo’s can expect Ohtani back, regardless of his MRI results.
Either way, they may decide to take extra precautions with Ohtani and choose to shut down their Ace starting pitcher and allow him more time to build back some more arm-strength.
Updated-In a team press release, the Angels say Shohei Ohtani has been diagnosed with a Grade 1-2 strain of the flexor pronator mass in his right arm.The Angels state that the “general timetable for beginning a throwing progression following this injury is 4-6 weeks.” The statement also says that Ohtani will remain on the active roster and is “day to day for DH duties.” He is traveling with the team to Seattle ahead of Tuesday’s series opener against the Mariners.
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