ANAHEIM, CA–The first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader vs. the Reds didn’t go as planned for the Angels. After a blistering start to the game with a Shohei Ohtani 1-2-3 inning followed by a 2-run home run in the bottom of the 1st inning, Ohtani was removed from the game entirely after just 1.1 innings pitched and 1 at-bat. Ohtani has been dealing with arm fatigue for a few weeks now as his last start was moved back because of it, but before the game Angels Manager Phil Nevin said that Wednesday’s start would be a normal one for Ohtani, but also added that they won’t push him if something happens.
After getting Christian Encarnation-Strand to foul a ball off in a 2-2 count with one out in the 2nd inning, Ohtani shook his head and the team trainer came out with interpreter Ippei Mizuhara and Manager Phil Nevin to discuss what happened. Ohtani was not only removed from the game as a pitcher, but his arm fatigue was severe enough for him to be removed as a hitter as well. Following the 9-4 loss, Nevin was asked to elaborate on Ohtani’s arm fatigue, “We’re still evaluating Shohei, he told me he didn’t feel any pain, just the same thing he’s been feeling over the last few weeks which returned after the first inning today”. Nevin added that Ohtani will undergo an abundance of tests and it is yet to be determined if he will be in the lineup in the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader.
Prior to the game, Nevin was asked about who would be starting this weekend to for the Angels with Griffin Canning being a bullpen option over the last week. Nevin said it was undetermined who would be starting and the Angels made Kenny Rosenberg the 27th man on the roster prior to the game (Rosenberg ended up pitching the 8th and 9th inning of game 1). Though Nevin was adamant about Ohtani being able to complete a normal start, him adding that Ohtani wouldn’t be pushed alone indicates that there could have been some underlying concerns regarding Ohtani’s arm fatigue preceding Wednesday’s contest. Once the 2nd inning started and Nevin saw that Ohtani’s velocity and pitch shapes were off, he went out to the mound with the trainer and removed Ohtani from the game. Ohtani’s longterm health comes first, so it remains to be seen if he will be shut down on the mound for the remainder of the season.