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Shohei Ohtani will not pitch again for Angels this season

Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani throws against the Houston Astros on Sunday.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Shohei Ohtani’s two-way experiment is on pause for the rest of the year.

The Angels star was diagnosed this week with a forearm injury — specifically, a grade 1-2 sprain of the flexor pronator mass in his right arm. He won’t be able to throw again for at least four weeks. Ramping up to pitch will take additional time.

So manager Joe Maddon said Tuesday that Ohtani will play only as the Angels’ designated hitter in 2020. With roughly eight weeks remaining in the regular season, Maddon doesn’t anticipate Ohtani recovering in time to pitch.

“It’s very nebulous,” Maddon said when asked to estimate Ohtani’s return to the mound. “I don’t have any projection on that other than he’s not going to pitch this year.”

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Maddon said there is still hope Ohtani, who has now had two arm injuries since debuting in MLB in 2018, will return as a two-way player in the future.

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

“I’m saying that he can,” Maddon said. “From what I’ve seen, I believe that he can. We just got to get past the arm maladies and figure that out specifically, but I’ve seen it. He’s such a high-end arm.

“Maybe he might get to the point where he may choose to want to do one thing over the other and just express that to us. I know he likes to hit. As of right now, in my mind’s eye, he’s still going to be able to do this.”

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Ohtani wasn’t in Tuesday’s lineup against the Seattle Mariners because of soreness in his right arm, but Maddon expects him to be the Angels’ primary designated hitter soon.

A short training camp might have contributed to Ohtani’s struggles on the mound. He made only three starts in intrasquad games before pitching in an MLB game for the first time in nearly two years.

In two regular-season starts, he looked nothing like he did in his 2018 rookie-of-the-year campaign. He gave up seven earned runs in 1⅔ innings and walked eight of the 16 batters he faced. He also labored to throw at his usual mid-to-high 90s velocity.

Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani reacts after walking Houston's George Springer with the bases loaded.
Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani reacts after walking Houston’s George Springer with the bases loaded during Sunday’s game.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)
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Ohtani threw as hard as 97 mph in Sunday’s outing but three of his final four pitches registered under 90 mph.

Ohtani alerted the Angels to discomfort in his arm after departing. He had an MRI Sunday evening. The results defused some concern. Whether continuing the two-way experiment is feasible remains to be seen.

“I’m looking for him to get well,” Maddon said. “Then [he can] really utilize a normal spring training, go into a regular season with a normal number of starts and all the things that permit guys to be ready for a year.”

Short hops

Reliever Cam Bedrosian was placed on the 10-day injured list because of a right adductor strain. ...
Veteran starter Julio Teheran, whose arrival at training camp last month was delayed by a coronavirus infection, will make his Angels debut Wednesday. He was expected to make at third intrasquad start at the Angels’ alternate site but Ohtani’s pitching injury expedited Teheran’s arrival.

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