Maddon: No 'reason to interfere' with Ohtani

'Different things in the hopper' for Bundy; No. 4 prospect on comeback trail

May 20th, 2021

ANAHEIM -- Shohei Ohtani's two-way abilities -- which have been done at a high level -- have made him a spectacle to watch.

Coming into Thursday, he has appeared in every game this season for the Angels whether as a hitter or a pitcher. The decisions about his usage have come based off of regular discussions between him and Angels manager Joe Maddon.

Following his latest start Wednesday, where Ohtani’s fastball averaged 91.3 mph -- which is a 4.7 mph dip from where his fastball has averaged this season -- both the two-way star and Angels manager Joe Maddon were not concerned about the drop in velocity.

Maddon said that despite Ohtani’s high usage, he is proving that the two-way star understands how to manage his body and is doing it at a high level -- he leads the Majors in home runs (14) coming into Thursday and he has a 2.37 ERA in 30 1/3 innings on the mound.

“I think, overall, he's proven this year [that when] given the opportunity to do two things, that you should listen to him,” Maddon said. “I mean, between what he's doing at the plate and what he's done on the mound, I don't see any real reason to interfere a whole lot.”

Maddon said that the issues with Ohtani’s fastball velocity is similar to other speed bumps that he has had this season, including starts needing to be pushed back by either blister issues or fatigue.

The Angels' skipper said that what Ohtani has done this season has been exceptional for the ballclub.

“What Shohei has done to this point, we all would have signed up for it before the season began,” Maddon said. “Everything done to this point, [we] absolutely would have signed off on it coming out of Spring Training.”

Bundy’s next start undecided

Starter Dylan Bundy’s next turn in the rotation, which would be Saturday against the A’s, is still undecided upon, Maddon said.

The Angels' manager said that Bundy is “OK” health-wise and he could instead get the ball Sunday.

“We're just trying to figure it out,” Maddon said. “We have a couple of different things in the hopper. And so it may be Sunday, but we're working on different things right now.”

Left-hander Patrick Sandoval is a candidate to make a start this weekend. Sandoval has a 5.56 ERA in four outings this season. His last outing was a four-inning start against Cleveland on Monday where he gave up two runs on six hits.

Rodriguez nearing return

Rookie reliever Chris Rodriguez (right shoulder inflammation) threw a bullpen session earlier this week and was said to be feeling well. Maddon said that he doesn’t think the club's No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline is "far off” from making a return.

Rodriguez was placed on the 10-day IL on May 6. Before the injury, he was a bright spot in the Angels' bullpen, going 2-0 with a 2.30 ERA in 15 2/3 innings this season.