ANAHEIM -- The Angels received some tough news on the injury front on Monday regarding superstars Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, as Ohtani will not make his scheduled start against the Yankees on Tuesday after being hit on his right wrist/hand by a pitch on Saturday, while Trout could be out the rest of the year with his strained left calf sustained on May 17.
Ohtani was hit by a 93 mph fastball from Padres lefty Ryan Weathers in the first inning of Saturday’s game but remained in the game and stole a base to become the first Angels player to ever have 40 homers and 20 stolen bases in a season. Ohtani underwent an X-ray exam that came back negative but is still feeling soreness, and his next start is yet to be determined. Right-hander Jaime Barria will start in his place.
"He's fine, he's just sore,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “Pitching is problematic, so we'll just have him hit until he's ready to pitch. It's almost like his thumb issue."
As Maddon noted, Ohtani also saw one of his starts pushed back in late July after being hit on his right thumb by a foul ball while sitting in the dugout. He saw that outing pushed back by three days as a result and the Angels are hopeful Ohtani could return to the mound within the next week.
Maddon also said the club has no plans to shut down Ohtani from pitching late in the year if he’s healthy, as they’re not looking to monitor his innings.
“The flip side is that we get him more stretched out; it’ll benefit us next year, too,” Maddon said. “His schedule has been sporadic in a sense regarding time in between starts. There might not be a reason to push him but you also don’t want to step away if he’s feeling good. Plus, the guy is in the running for some pretty big personal awards right now and I don’t ever want to get in the way of anybody’s greatness.”
Trout, meanwhile, had been ramping up his baseball activities, including running the bases aggressively at Angel Stadium last week. But the nine-time All-Star and three-time AL MVP’s calf continues to bother him the day after his workouts and Maddon acknowledged Trout could run out of time to return from his injury.
“He had another good day working out and we were optimistic but he came back sore,” Maddon said. “So we keep going back to that. It’s a possibility [he’ll get shut down]. And probably getting closer to having to say something like that. But he still wants to continue the fight and we're going to honor his wishes. However Mike sees this, we're going to go that way."
Maddon said Trout might want to return even if he’s at the very end of the season just to prove to himself he’s healthy heading into the offseason and the 2022 season. Infielder Tommy La Stella played the final three games of the 2019 season after a lengthy injury for similar reasons. But it’s still too early to know if Trout will be able to return at all this year.
“The biggest thing about it would be his mental well-being and how he feels going into the offseason,” Maddon said. “That’s the most important thing and how that plays into next year. So it’s about listening to him and him listening to his body. But we have to be realistic about it and we may have to say, ‘This is it.’”