In a disappointing turn of events for the Los Angeles Angels and their fans, General Manager Perry Minasian announced on Wednesday night that Shohei Ohtani will not be pitching for the remainder of the season. This news comes as a result of a tear in Ohtani’s elbow ligament, leaving the team uncertain whether surgery will be required to repair the UCL ligament.
The injury occurred during the second inning of the doubleheader opener against the Cincinnati Reds. Ohtani, who was on the mound, left the game in the middle of an at-bat due to arm fatigue. The Angels’ training staff came out to assess him after a 94 mph fastball, with Ohtani having a 2-2 count against Reds third baseman Christian Encarnacion-Strand. After a brief discussion, Ohtani made the decision to step off the mound, having thrown just 26 pitches in the first game of the doubleheader.
Despite being unable to pitch, Ohtani did make a return to the Angels’ lineup for the nightcap, serving as their designated hitter. It is worth noting that Ohtani has been incredibly durable this season, missing only two games since May 2. However, he did not address the media after the game as he was undergoing further evaluation. Manager Phil Nevin stated that Ohtani expressed that his pitching arm simply did not feel right and that he had been experiencing similar discomfort for the past few weeks.
Nevin also mentioned that Ohtani’s velocity was noticeably down during the second inning of his start on the mound. The shapes on his pitches were not the same, prompting Nevin to check on him. This noticeable drop in performance raises concern as it is unusual for Ohtani, who has been performing exceptionally well throughout the season.
Throughout the season, Ohtani has dealt with various minor injuries to his pitching hand, including blisters, cramps, and a cracked fingernail. Despite these challenges, he has consistently played both as a pitcher and a designated hitter. In fact, Ohtani played 106 games as the Angels’ DH in 2019 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. His dedication and resilience have been truly remarkable.
While the news of Ohtani’s season-ending injury is undoubtedly disheartening, there is no denying the incredible talent and potential he possesses. With a standout two-way campaign, Ohtani is almost certain to win his second AL MVP award in three seasons. Currently boasting a 10-5 record and a 3.17 ERA as a pitcher, his exceptional performance extends to his offensive abilities as well. Ohtani’s two-run homer during the opening game of the doubleheader marked his 44th of the season, solidifying his position at the top of the home run standings with 91 RBIs.
The absence of Ohtani on the pitching mound will be a significant blow to the Angels as they continue their season. However, the team’s depth and resilience will be tested as they look to compensate for the loss. The upcoming road trip against the Mets will likely see Tyler Anderson stepping in to fill Ohtani’s spot on the mound. Anderson, a regular part of the Angels’ rotation, will have an opportunity to showcase his abilities and contribute to the team’s success.
Shohei Ohtani’s season may have been cut short due to his injury, but there is no doubt that his impact and accomplishments will be remembered. As fans and analysts reflect on his incredible performance this year, there is a sense of disappointment that he will not be able to finish the season as a pitcher. Nevertheless, Ohtani’s journey is far from over, and fans can look forward to seeing him back on the field in the future, ready to captivate audiences with his exceptional talent once again.