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Angels’ Shohei Ohtani can’t pitch for at least six weeks but won’t go on injured list

Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani throws.
Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani throws during Sunday’s loss to the Houston Astros.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Two-way player Shohei Ohtani was diagnosed Monday with a strained right elbow and won’t pitch until mid-September at the earliest. However, he will be with the Angels when the team opens a six-game trip in Seattle on Tuesday and could soon resume his role as designated hitter.

Ohtani underwent an MRI exam after his brief start Sunday, his second MLB outing since having Tommy John surgery in October 2018. He alerted the team following a 6-5, 11-inning loss to the Houston Astros that he had discomfort in his surgically repaired pitching arm.

“Shohei Ohtani has been diagnosed with a grade 1-2 strain of the flexor pronator mass,” Angels general manager Billy Eppler said. “A general timetable for beginning a throwing progression following this injury is four to six weeks. He is traveling with the team to Seattle and his status as a DH is day to day.”

Mike Trout is back in the lineup after taking paternity leave and touted rookie Jo Adell makes his Angels debut against the Seattle Mariners.

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A red flag was raised when the velocity of Ohtani’s fastball dipped from its customary 95- to 96-mph range to 89 mph during the final moments of his start Sunday. Ohtani appeared visibly frustrated during his second and final inning, stepping off the mound and grimacing up at the sky after issuing his first of two bases-loaded walks.

He walked five batters in the inning and walked eight and allowed seven earned runs in 1 2/3 innings over two starts. His ERA is 37.80.

If he is not permitted to return to the mound, Ohtani could complete the 2020 season as he did in 2018 — raking at the plate. He didn’t pitch after Sept. 2, 2018. He finished the season batting .310 (27 for 87) with five doubles, one triple and seven home runs over 24 games. On the day he learned the elbow ligament in his pitching arm required repair, he went four for four with two home runs and a walk.

Ohtani is batting .148 with two home runs and seven RBIs in 27 at-bats this season.


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