Angels star Shohei Ohtani sent for MRI on pitching arm after another poor outing


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Shohei Ohtani Getting MRI After Another Bad Outing
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Following a second poor outing in as many starts this season, Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani has been sent for an MRI on his pitching arm. After his Sunday start against the Astros, Ohtani reported discomfort in his arm. Ohtani just recently returned to the mound after undergoing Tommy John surgery in September 2018. Given that he underwent such a major procedure not so long ago, this is obviously a concerning turn of events for Ohtani and the Angels. 

In his first start of the 2020 season, Ohtani faced six batters and retired zero last Sunday, meaning he had to sit on an infinity ERA for a full week. Sunday’s start against Houston didn’t go much better. Ohtani followed a quick 1-2-3 first inning with five walks in the second inning. He threw only 25 of his 50 pitches for strikes and has now walked eight of the 16 batters he has faced this season.

Ohtani did throw noticeably harder in his second start. His fastball averaged 92.9 mph and topped out at 94.7 mph first time out. On Sunday he averaged 94.4 mph and topped out at 97.1 mph. In 2018, his first MLB season, Ohtani averaged 97.3 mph and topped out at 101.9 mph with his heater. Sunday was good progress on that front but he’s still well short of his norm.

Here is Ohtani’s strike zone plot from Sunday. He was squeezed on a 3-2 pitch to Dustin Garneau, otherwise he was missing well outside the strike zone for easy takes. This wasn’t a pitcher who missed just off the plate:

Shohei Ohtani again struggled with his control Sunday.
Baseball Savant

He walked eight batters in a summer camp intrasquad game and has now walked eight through two regular season starts. The problem is basic strike-throwing more than precision. He can’t get the ball over the plate.

The Angels plan to use a six-man rotation this season and start Ohtani once a week, mostly on Sundays because they have frequent off-days on Monday. Ohtani does not play the day before or after starts. The other days he serves as the DH. Ohtani is 4 for 27 (.148) with two home runs this season and is a .281/.345/.528 hitter in 216 big-league games. Those plans of course are on hold pending the resutls of Ohtani’s MRI.

We know Ohtani can pitch — he threw 51 2/3 innings with 63 strikeouts and a 3.31 ERA in 2018 — but these arm troubles have been a persistent issue since he made the jump to MLB.





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