Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani left his start today against the Houston Astros after 1.2 IP due to soreness in his right arm. Ohtani is slated to undergo an MRI.
This is a blow for the Angels, who came into the season with playoff aspirations, but were weak in the starting rotation. The expected to be bolstered by the return of Ohtani, who had not pitched since September, 2018, after having undergone Tommy John surgery. Ohtani failed to retire a batter in his first outing of the year, however, giving up three hits and three walks before getting pulled. He got off to a better start today with a 1-2-3 first, but he walked five of the seven batters he faced in the second before being pulled.
Perhaps most worrisome for the Angels was the precipitous drop in velocity Ohtani experienced with his final few pitches. After touching 97 early in the second inning and generally throwing his four seamer 95-96 mph, his final three four seamers were all 89 mph.
Ohtani would have been scheduled to face the Rangers this coming weekend, but with this arm soreness, I have to think he’s at least going to be pushed back.
The Angels have gotten off to a slow start to the season, and are in last place in the West at 3-7 after today’s loss. Still, with the expanded playoffs, as well as the fact that the A’s and Astros are just at 5-4 atop the division, they still have ample opportunity to make it to the postseason.