Shohei Ohtani will be placed on the Los Angeles Angels’ disabled list with a sprained elbow ligament, potentially derailing the two-way sensation’s remarkable rookie season.
Angels general manager Billy Eppler announced the injury Friday before his club opened a road trip in Minnesota. The Angels are unsure about the severity of Ohtani’s injury, but the Japanese right-hander and designated hitter won’t throw another ball before doctors re-evaluate him in three weeks.
“I’m just going to take every day as it comes and put him on this course of recovery and strengthening for the next three weeks, and then deal with what we’ve got to deal with in three weeks’ time,” Eppler said.
Ohtani left his last pitching start after four innings Wednesday due to the reoccurrence of a blister on his pitching fingers. Eppler said that’s when the Angels got their first indication Ohtani’s elbow ligament might be distressed.
“As the game adrenaline wore off, he said, `My elbow is getting a little stiff,“’ Eppler said.
Ohtani is 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA in his debut North American season, getting 61 strikeouts with a dazzling mix of 100-mph fastballs and precipitous breaking pitches – including a vicious splitter, a pitch which typically puts significant stress on a pitcher’s ligaments. The Angels’ opponents are batting just .202 in his nine starts.
Ohtani also is batting .289 with six homers and 20 RBIs as baseball’s most successful two-way player in decades. The designated hitter had cooled off slightly after an impressive start at the plate, batting .257 with two homers since April.
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