Angels star in Ohtani at least 3 weeks with elbow sprain

Shohei Ohtani has been included on the disabled list by the Los Angeles Angels with a sprained ligament in his throwing elbow, an ominous injury that will be reevaluated in three weeks and brought the remarkable rookie season of sensation Japanese in two senses at least a temporary high.

Los Angeles announced Friday that Ohtani's right ulnar collateral ligament has a Grade 2 sprain, which typically indicates some degree of damage but not a complete break. Your injury does not always require surgery, while Grade 3 sprains are usually repaired using Tommy John's ligament replacement procedure that takes a year or more to recover.

For all the benefits, the Angels have reaped their nine laps on the mound and 30 starts as the designated hitter, the next feat for Ohtani will be to avoid Tommy John's surgery.

"We're hoping he can," said general manager Billy Eppler, "that this is completely treatable with the biological prescription." that doctors recommend. "

Ohtani, who turns 24 next month, underwent injections of platelet-rich plasma and stem cells in Los Angeles on Thursday, Eppler speaking at a conference call with reporters before the Angels will start a three-game series in Minnesota, said Ohtani will not throw a ball again until his three-week checkup.

"I'm just going to take it every day as it comes, and put it into this recovery and strengthening course for the next three weeks and then deal with what we have to face in three weeks, "Eppler said.

Manager Mike Scioscia expressed a similar reaction, sitting in the dugout at Target Field before his suddenly exhausted team took over. will face the Twins.

"The schedule does not stop, and you can not take a break," Scioscia said, adding: "We have to absorb it and move on."

Ohtani d He pitched his last pitching start after four innings on Wednesday due to the recurrence of a blister on his throwing fingers. Only then, Eppler and Scioscia said, the Angels got their first hint that Ohtani's UCL might be in distress. He told the team that his elbow was "getting a little stiff" after the game's adrenaline dissipated.

Yahoo Sports reported last December that Ohtani had a grade 1 sprain from his UCL, but Eppler said at that time there was "no signs of acute trauma" in the ligament. Ohtani also received an injection of PRP last October.

Ohtani is 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA in his North American debut season. He has 61 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings with a dazzling combination of 100 mph fastballs and hasty throws including a vicious divider, a throw that typically puts significant stress on the ligaments. The Angels' opponents are hitting .202 against him.

Ohtani is also hitting .289 with six homers, 20 RBIs and a slugging percentage of .907 on base plus slugging as the most successful two-way baseball player in decades. It has cooled a bit after a torrid start on the plate, hitting .257 with two homers since April.

When the Twins played against the Angels last month, batting practice was a must.

"Some of the guys were just impressed with the power screen," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We had an idea of ​​his offensive and pitching skills when we were there, I wish him well, I think guys like that and stories like that are really good for the game, let's hope it's not a long-term deal."

Eppler said that if the Angels only saw Ohtani as a batter, he could probably keep playing with that injury. The Angels paid a $ 20 million publishing fee to the former Ohtani club in Japan, the Nippon Ham Fighters, for the right to sign it.

"But that's not your circumstance, and that's not how we want to use the player," Eppler said. "It was determined that any single oscillation or variability could impose a small percentage increase in risk, so we will give you the three-week period at this time."

Los Angeles have tried to keep Ohtani cool by giving him at least a week's rest between his pitching beginnings, following a disciplined plan developed by Eppler. While Ohtani was anxious to have more playing time, the Angels did not want to rush Ohtani at a frantic pace in his first season in the big leagues.

The Angels had a four-game winning streak in the first game of their nine-game road trip against the Twins. Any long-term absence for Ohtani could be overwhelming for a team trying to keep pace in the American League West's high-speed sprint with the surprising Seattle and defending champion of the Houston World Series. The Angels, who entered Friday 4½ games behind the Mariners and 3½ games behind the Astros, have been using a six-man rotation so they can take their absence better than hitting because they are short on hitting with the left hand. 19659019] "We are losing two important parts in our club," said Scioscia. "I think what he did on the mound obviously up to this point is really special, and that's important to us, and what he does in the batter's box, being a left-handed bat, is very important to us."


Sports writer AP Dave Campbell in Minneapolis contributed to this report.


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