Angels’ Shohei Ohtani undergoes MRI, raising questions for pitching staff

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Angels, Shohei Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani had another disaster of an outing on Sunday, one that ended with decreased velocity and another injury concern.

Shohei Ohtani‘s second pitching appearance of the season was started with the hopes of dispelling doubts over his control and velocity. It ended on the complete opposite end of the spectrum.

After surrendering five runs and failing to get an out in his season debut on the mound, Ohtani only had forward to go when he took the ball against the Astros on Sunday. He got a 1-2-3 first inning, including a strikeout of George Springer to start the game. His velocity was good as well, checking in as high as 95.8 in the inning.

Things quickly went off the rails from there.

Control and velocity both suffered when Ohtani came out for the second inning. He would get two outs in the frame but needed 48 pitches to do so before the Angels’ lifted him for a reliever. He reached a peak of 97.1 MPH in the inning, but his last three fastballs dipped considerably, dropping into the high-80s.

For a pitcher a year-plus removed from Tommy John surgery, the big drop in velocity is a huge red flag. After Ohtani expressed discomfort in his elbow, the team opted to also send him for an MRI.

As seen in the video below (h/t Jeff Fletcher, Orange County Register), Ohtani appeared to finish awkwardly and grab at the elbow after his fastest pitch of the day.

While the Angels and their fans anxiously await the results of the MRI, Ohtani’s puts an already underperforming pitching staff in a tight bind. In his two starts, the Angels have had to use the bullpen for a combined 18.1 innings. But outside of the bullpen, any missed starts will also change things up again in the team’s rotation.

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