Los Angeles Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani departed his start on Wednesday against the Cincinnati Reds (GameTracker) alongside a trainer with what the team called “arm fatigue.”
After the game, Angels manager Phil Nevin told reporters, including the Los Angeles Times’ Sarah Valenzuela, that Ohtani was still being evaluated but was not in any pain and was dealing with arm fatigue. Nevin also said that Ohtani was removed from the game entirely, and not just as pitcher, so that he could be evaluated immediately.
Ohtani has dealt with a slew of minor ailments in recent weeks, including fingernail and blister problems. More recently, he had a start skipped because of arm fatigue. He’s also publicly expressed that he was feeling tired, a byproduct of his unrivaled workload as a two-way player.
Ohtani did not take his at-bat in the bottom of the third inning, and was instead replaced by pinch hitter Nolan Schanuel. Whenever he’s dealt with those other issues, he’s usually remained in the game as a hitter even after exiting as a pitcher. As Nevin noted, this was so Ohtani could be examined right away.
Ohtani’s final line saw him work 1 1/3 scoreless innings. He struck out two of the five batters he faced while allowing no hits and surrendering just one walk. Even so, Ohtani was showing greatly reduced velocity on all of his pitches. According to Statcast’s data, his fastball was clocked at 93.2 mph, or 3.7 mph below his seasonal average. His sweeper, meanwhile, was 4.7 ticks slower.
He also hit a home run in his only at-bat Wednesday.
Ohtani, 29, entered the day having hit .304/.406/.659 (182 OPS+) with 43 home runs and 89 RBI, as well as having thrown 130 innings of 142 ERA+ ball. His total contributions have been estimated to be worth 9.4 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference. In other words, he’s in the midst of one of the best individual seasons in baseball history.
Ohtani will qualify for free agency this winter. At that point, he’s expected to receive a contract worth more than $500 million, per industry insiders.