Shohei Ohtani the pitcher might be done in 2021.
Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon told reporters on Thursday that the AL MVP favorite is experiencing arm soreness and will miss his scheduled Friday start against the Oakland A's. If he doesn't show improvement, he's unlikely to return to the mound this season.
“If there’s any kind of lingering soreness, you may not see him pitch,” Maddon said, per the Associated Press.
Maddon said that Ohtani complained of arm soreness after playing catch on Wednesday. For now, there are no plans for Ohtani to undergo medical evaluation. In 21 starts, Ohtani boasts a 3.36 ERA and 9-2 record with 136 strikeouts, 41 walks and a 1.118 WHIP in 115.1 innings pitched. He earned an All-Star bid as a pitcher as well as a designated hitter in July.
Ohtani's HR title quest still alive
The issue apparently won't impact Ohtani's quest for the home run title. He's expected to continue in his role as Angels designated hitter. Through 138 games, Ohtani is slashing .254/.356/.599 with 44 home runs, 94 RBI and 23 stolen bases. He trails only Toronto Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guererro Jr. (45) for the MLB home run lead and is tied with Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez.
Ohtani has struggled on the mound recently, allowing 12 earned runs in his last three starts against the Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers and Houston Astros, good for a 7.15 ERA. It's not clear if his arm soreness is related to his performance.
Maddon's revelation on Ohtani arrives a day after he said that three-time AL MVP Mike Trout is likely done for the season. Trout suffered a calf strain in May and hasn't played since. The 71-74 Angels have 17 games remaining on their schedule and are not a factor in the AL playoff race.