Shohei Ohtani Won't Throw for 4-6 Weeks After Forearm Injury; Day-to-Day as DH

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 3, 2020

Los Angeles Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani, of Japan, follows through during the second inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Los Angeles Angels pitcher and designated hitter Shohei Ohtani has been diagnosed with a Grade 1-2 strain of the flexor pronator mass, an injury that could prevent him from returning to the mound in 2020:

Los Angeles Angels @Angels

Update on Shohei Ohtani: https://t.co/hZ8RJJzEdN

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

There is a big difference between a Grade 1 and 2 strain. Strain = tear. Grade 1 is a slight tear with minimal issues. Grade 2 is much more significant -- the sort of thing that is concerning and problematic. Grade 3 is a complete tear of the muscle that always requires surgery.

As the Angels noted, Ohtani is day-to-day in regards to his role as a designated hitter. 

The 26-year-old has had a tough start to his MLB career, at least from a pitching perspective. He had Tommy John surgery in Sept. 2018, suspending his pitching career for the entirety of the 2019 season. He still made an impact for the Angels, however, hitting .286 with 18 homers and 62 RBI in 106 games. 

He was expected to fill both roles again in 2020, fulfilling the great promise he offered when he entered the league as a prized free agent from his native Japan in 2018, though he had to have an MRI after just his second start of the season. He's struggled on the mound this year, going 0-1 with a 37.80 ERA and 6.60 WHIP in two starts, allowing seven runs on three hits and eight walks in 1.2 innings of work. 

He's also hitting .148/.179/.407 with two homers and seven RBI in six games.

Ohtani's injury woes are now a major concern for the Angels. He's gone from being a player who absolutely set the MLB world ablaze in 2018—he went 4-2 in 10 starts with a 3.38 ERA and 1.16 WHIP while also hitting 22 dingers and 61 RBI in 104 games—to a player whose last two years have been defined by injury setbacks. 

The Angels are built around players like Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon and Ohtani. Keeping Ohtani healthy and playing to his full potential is crucial as the Angels (3-7) look to end a five-year playoff drought.