Ohtani is coming off his best start in several years, as he allowed one run and struck out 10 over seven strong innings against the Astros on Tuesday. But Maddon said he noticed Ohtani looked a bit off at the plate on Wednesday, when he served as designated hitter, so the club is just being cautious with him. His start is expected to be pushed back one to three days, and he isn’t being skipped in the rotation. He also remained in the lineup at DH on Friday, launching a sixth-inning opposite-field Green Monster solo homer as part of a 2-for-4 performance.
“We’re going to move him back, but we don’t know to when,” Maddon said. “But there’s no blisters. Nothing. Just being proactive. It’s in his best interest, too. To me, the day after he pitched the other day, he looked a little bit fatigued at the plate. It set off a little bit of an alarm for me.”
Ohtani has had a heavy workload this season, as he’s been in the lineup for 35 of the club’s 37 games and has also made five starts on the mound. Ohtani is responsible for letting the training staff and coaching staff know how he’s feeling and when he’s available to play.
Maddon said Ohtani has done a good job of that so far, and that’ll be important for him to be honest about how he’s feeling as the season goes along. The Angels don’t want fatigue to create any problems for Ohtani, especially with his pitching mechanics.
“We’re just giving him time to recover,” Maddon said. “I'm just concerned about when he's going so well offensively and maybe if he's a little fatigued, he'll want to keep going back out there again. If you're feeling good, you might wanna fight that fatigue. But I think the conversations, as we get deeper into the season, will be a little bit more involved. I expected that from the beginning and we're not there yet, but you want to avoid any fatigue that can compromise him in any way."
• Catcher Max Stassi (concussion) is nearing a return, but after talking with Maddon and the training staff on Friday, it was determined that he isn’t quite ready to be reinstated. Stassi has been out since May 4.
• Rookie reliever Chris Rodriguez (right shoulder inflammation) began his throwing program on Friday, and he threw from 90 feet without any issues. Rodriguez is expected to be out a few more weeks before returning, as he’ll need to continue to build arm strength.
• Maddon said he’s not worried about the high error total for shortstop José Iglesias this season, and he believes he’s still a Gold Glove-caliber defender. Iglesias, who has eight errors in 33 games, missed three games with back stiffness but returned to action on Wednesday and is considered fully healthy. In Friday's loss, he went 2-for-3 with a two-run double in the seventh inning.