Angels say Shohei Ohtani to continue playing DH despite UCL tear

Angels say Shohei Ohtani to continue playing DH despite UCL tear

Aug 19, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) returns to the dugout after hitting a pop fly ball during the first inning at Angel Stadium.
Image: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Shohei Ohtani traveled with the Los Angeles Angels to New York for a weekend series with the Mets and will continue to be their designated hitter for the time being, the club confirmed Thursday.

The two-way star was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow on Wednesday, and the Angels said he would not pitch for the rest of the 2023 season.

Ohtani, who leads the major leagues in home runs, is seeking a second opinion on the UCL tear and will keep swinging his bat for Los Angeles until then.

The right-hander started the first game of the doubleheader but left after 26 pitches. With a 2-2 count against the Reds’ Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Ohtani came off the mound and appeared to be in pain. Manager Phil Nevin and the training staff came out and removed Ohtani from the game.

Ohtani, 29, is set to become a free agent after the season and was widely expected to land the biggest contract in baseball history.

The three-time All-Star and 2021 American League MVP was having perhaps his greatest season yet. He leads the majors in home runs (44), triples (seven), slugging percentage (.664) and OPS (1.069). He also has 22 doubles, 78 walks and 91 RBIs.

On the mound, he is 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA while holding batters to a .183 average. Ohtani underwent Tommy John surgery after the 2018 season and played in 106 games the following season (though he did not pitch or play in the field, serving only as a designated hitter).

The Angels entered Thursday 10 1/2 games out of an American League wild-card spot at 61-67.

—Field Level Media

Original source here

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Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.