The Los Angeles Angels are hoping the latest Shohei Ohtani news isn’t major.
After two outings in which he has pitched a combined 1.2 innings, the Angels starter underwent an MRI on Sunday evening after feeling discomfort in his pitching arm. At the time of this writing, the results are unknown, but the Angels are hoping the news isn’t a major blow to their roster this early in the season.
However, Ohtani’s big dip in velocity numbers and reported discomfort seem eerily familiar to 2018 before Ohtani underwent Tommy John surgery, causing him to not pitch a single inning in 2019.
The Angels have seen positive starts from the top of their rotation in Dylan Bundy, Andrew Heaney, and Griffin Canning. The trio has combined for 39 strikeouts in 32+ innings of work, with Bundy and Heaney each owning a sub-1.00 WHIP through their first two starts.
The backend of the rotation has been a bit more unsettled. Ohtani figured to be a stabilizing rotation piece for the Angels this season, but his first two starts have been a disaster.
Ohtani failed to record an out in his highly-anticipated first start of the season, allowing five earned runs on three hits and walking three against the Oakland A’s back on July 26th.
Things didn’t improve very much in his start on Sunday against the Houston Astros. Ohtani lasted just 1.2 innings, giving up two earned runs on no hits and five walks. He did, however, strike out three hitters.
Unfortunately, the control issues are nothing new for Ohtani in 2020. Those problems were prevalent during summer camp scrimmages, but many wrote it off as just a pitcher working his way back to form after a year away from the mound and another extended layoff due to COVID-19.
Ohtani’s performance at the plate hasn’t been as disastrous, but it has been a rough start for the 26-year-old. He’s currently hitting .148 with a .179 on-base percentage but has homered twice in his last three games.
If Shohei Ohtani is out for an extended period of time, this leaves another big hole in the LA Angels lineup. The Angels are already trying to work from behind and climb out of the cellar in the American League West. Through the second weekend of play, the Angels are 3-7, 2.5 games behind the division-leading A’s and Astros (both 5-4).
Hopefully, there’s good news on the Shohei Ohtani injury front and he can continue to find his footing in the Los Angeles Angels rotation.