ANAHEIM – Shohei Ohtani won’t get a chance to make up for the biggest blemish of his season.
Ohtani’s right wrist, which was hit by a pitch on Saturday, was so painful on Monday that the Angels scratched him from his scheduled start against the New York Yankees on Tuesday. He was set to hit on Monday and manager Joe Maddon said he would keep hitting despite the sore wrist.
When Ohtani faced the Yankees on June 30, he was knocked out in the first inning and charged with seven runs. It was the worst start to the season for Ohtani, who has a 3.00 ERA in 105 innings.
Ohtani was x-rayed immediately after his goal on Saturday and stayed in the game.
“He’s fine,” said Maddon. “It only hurts where it hit him. Pitching becomes problematic, so let’s let him hit until he’s ready to pitch. ”
Maddon compared the problem to last month when Ohtani was hit on the right thumb by a foul ball in the Angels’ dugout. Ohtani was hit on July 27 and scratched from a launch scheduled for August 1. Instead, he could pitch on August 4th instead. He never took a break from hitting.
The next possible start for Ohtani would be Friday, as the Angels have already scheduled Jaime Barria for Tuesday and Packy Naughton for Thursday. The angels are free on Thursday.
Maddon said there is currently no thought that the Angels will simply close Ohtani as a pitcher, despite having already hit an innings total he hasn’t seen since 2016 in Japan.
He said going deeper into this season would help him lay the groundwork for next season.
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“There’s no reason or want to rush him,” said Maddon. “You don’t want to distance yourself from it if he feels good too and how that benefits us. If we do that now, it will be a little easier mentally for both of us next year. There’s this fine line we walk on. I know he wants to play, wants to pitch. That is the commitment we have made to him. ”
Maddon added that he was also aware that Ohtani was in the running for the American League MVP and Cy Young awards.
“I never want to stand in the way of anyone’s size,” said Maddon.
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