Monday, October 2, 2023

Shohei Ohtani emptied his locker; Angels say they will announce details on Saturday

ANAHEIM – Shohei Ohtani’s locker was emptied and then a large bag full of things sat in front of it The defeat on Friday with 11:2 against the Tigers. However, the Angels said they had nothing to announce until Saturday.

Ohtani was not in the squad against Detroit on Friday and was sidelined for the 11th game in a row due to a right oblique injury. He could have chosen to opt out of this season as he also suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on August 23, which is expected to require surgery. It is still unclear what type of surgery will be necessary for Ohtani, who previously underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018.

Ohtani injured his oblique muscle during batting practice at Angel Stadium on Sept. 4 and was taken out of the lineup for that night’s game before later tests revealed he had mild inflammation and not a strain. However, he missed the remaining seven games of the series at home against Los Angeles. Ohtani expected to return for the three-game series in Seattle and was initially in the lineup Monday before being withdrawn.

Manager Phil Nevin said on Wednesday that there was some hope he would play on Friday after a day off on Thursday, but that wasn’t the case. Randal Grichuk started as designated hitter in the series opener against Detroit.

“He always wants to play,” Nevin said before the lineup was announced. “He’s just busy with his stuff.”

Ohtani’s oblique injury occurred on the same day that his agent Nez Balelo spoke to local and Japanese media about a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Ohtani, who tore a ligament while pitching against the Reds on Aug. 23, will not pitch again this season and is still weighing his options after receiving multiple opinions on the injury. Surgery remains likely but could prevent his second Tommy John procedure.

The 29-year-old is entering the final weeks of one of the best seasons in Major League history. On the offensive side, Ohtani has hit 44 home runs, stolen 20 bases and leads the Major Leagues with a 1.066 OPS and .654 slugging percentage. Before the elbow injury, he had a 3.14 ERA and had 167 strikeouts in 132 innings on the mound.

Overall, Ohtani leads the majors with 10.0 WAR, more than two wins better than the next closest player (Mookie Betts, 7.9), according to Baseball Reference. The impending free agent is also entering his final weeks before testing the market for the first time in his career.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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