With nothing left for him this season beyond medical procedures, Shohei Ohtani has cleared out his locker with the Los Angeles Angels. Potentially for the final time.
The two-way superstar, who tore the UCL in his pitching arm last month, missed his 11th straight game Friday and it became clear after the game that he would miss more, as his locker was cleared out once reporters entered the clubhouse for postgame interviews.
Some of his things were even in the trash, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The next morning, the team announced that Ohtani is on the 10-day injured list with an oblique injury and will miss the rest of the season. General manager Perry Minasian finally elaborated on the story Saturday afternoon, telling reporters an MRI had revealed an issue with Ohtani's oblique on Friday.
Ohtani apparently decided to clear out his locker because he is focusing on getting a procedure done on his elbow. That could mean a second career Tommy John surgery, though Ohtani has been reported to be seeking second opinions.
Angels GM Perry Minasian said Shohei Ohtani got an MRI on his oblique yesterday afternoon that solidified he needs to shut it down. He packed his bags because he's focused on getting "a procedure" on his elbow, which will happen soon. He'll remain with the team throughout.
— Alden González (@Alden_Gonzalez) September 16, 2023
Ohtani’s pitching season ended Aug. 23, when he tore the UCL in his right elbow. He has been out of the lineup completely since Sept. 4 due to a sore oblique.
He becomes a free agent after the World Series. The Angels added lineup reinforcements at the trade deadline in an effort to help Ohtani reach the postseason for the first time and maybe even convince him to stay in Anaheim — to no avail.
Earlier this month, Ohtani’s agent, Nez Balelo, said the Angels star would need a procedure at some point but didn’t provide a timeline or any other details.
Putting Ohtani’s locker clean-out in the context of a potential upcoming surgery would make sense. But an announcement normally would've been made beforehand. Hence the initial confusion.
What Balelo made clear is that Ohtani plans to play next season.
"Shohei's gonna be in somebody's lineup next year DH-ing when the bell rings," Balelo said “... There’s not one thing he can’t do right now when it comes to DH-ing. He can lift, he can run, he can slide, take violent swings. He can do anything he wants right now. It doesn’t affect the problem in question.”
Ohtani was in the clubhouse before Friday’s game and worked in the batting cage to determine if he could play, according to multiple reports. Now, it seems likely he has already played his final game in an Angels uniform.