Two-way player Shohei Ohtani will miss the bulk of the 2020 season as a pitcher due to an arm injury but will be able to continue in his role as a designated hitter for the Los Angeles Angels, the team said Monday.
An MRI exam performed on the 26-year-old detected a strain near his throwing elbow. Ohtani will be unable to throw for at least 4 to 6 weeks.
“Shohei Ohtani has been diagnosed with a grade 1-2 strain of the flexor pronator mass,” general manager Billy Eppler said in a statement. “A general timetable for beginning a throwing progression following this injury is 4-6 weeks. He is traveling with the team to Seattle and his status as a DH is day to day.”
Ohtani underwent Tommy John surgery following the 2018 season. The Angels have been cautious with him, so given the timetable to resume throwing, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he doesn’t pitch again until the 2021 season.
Concerns grew Sunday when Ohtani’s velocity was down and he had issues finding the strike zone in a start against the Houston Astros.
Ohtani lasted just 1 2/3 innings and walked five. He allowed two runs and no hits and struck out three while throwing 50 pitches.
Ohtani wasn’t involved in the decision. The Astros won 6-5 in 11 innings.
Ohtani is batting just .148 in 27 at-bats this season. His pitching ERA is 37.80 and he has an 0-1 record in two starts.
The Angels open a three-game series in Seattle on Tuesday.
Three-time MVP Mike Trout is slated to return after being away for the birth of his son, and the Angels are expected to recall highly regarded prospect Jo Adell prior to the opener.
Adell, an outfielder, was the 10th overall pick in 2017. The 21-year-old would be reaching the majors for the first time.