Shohei Ohtani Gets MRI Following Another Early Departureby B.J. Martin August 3, 2020 0 comments
Shohei Ohtani made his second start of the 2020 season Sunday afternoon and looked reminiscent of the 2018 version in the first inning.
Ohtani’s fastball reached 97 mph and he retired the side in order in the first before failing to get out of the second inning. Following the game, Ohtani reported discomfort in his right arm and was sent for an MRI. The team is awaiting the results.
Ohtani returned to the mound last Sunday afternoon in Oakland following almost a two-year separation between starts following Tommy John Surgery after his 2018 rookie season. The 2018 American League Rookie of Year continued to be the Angels designated hitter last season while recovering and rehabilitating from the operation. This year was his much-anticipated return the two-way sensation that took MLB by storm the first half of 2018.
Ohtani failed to record an out against the six batters he faced in his first start last week and his fastball didn’t even reach into the mid-’90s. This week, in his second start of the season, Ohtani’s fastball and control seemed much better and he could have been out of the second inning without any damage if not a close walk. A full-count pitch appearing inside the strike zone on Statcast was called ball four rather than strike three by home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez. Instead of ending the inning with bases loaded he walked in the first run of the game and followed that with another walk before exiting the game.
Angels manager Joe Maddon praised Ohtani’s stuff in his postgame Fox Sports web conference interview and made no mention to Ohtani’s arm discomfort or getting an MRI.
“That first inning was outstanding, his velocity was up and he looked comfortable,” Maddon said. “We continue to work with it. We saw some positive signs with him. The velocity was much better, slider was better but then it seemed he wanted to try to hit the edges too much. Overall, he threw the ball much better.”
Ohtani would leave the game trailing 2-0 but the Angels would strike back and take a 4-2 lead on Albert Pujols’ 15th career grand slam. The Angels bullpen would surrender two more runs before both teams scored in the 10th and Houston finally won the game 6-5 in the 11th inning.
Houston took two of three games against the Angels, who now are 2.5 games out of first place even though they’re ranked last in the American League West.
The Angels were expecting Ohtani to anchor a much-improved Angels starting rotation that has seen strong early season performances from Andrew Heaney, Griffin Canning, and Dylan Bundy. Now an early-season MRI could decide the fate of their rotation’s strength.