Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani was all set to grace the lineup against the Seattle Mariners, only to have that plan swiftly altered. Ohtani’s presence was withdrawn as he underwent his pre-game ritual, marking his eighth consecutive absence. The cause behind this unexpected change was his ongoing battle with oblique tightness, leaving him feeling unprepared for the game.
In the eyes of manager Phil Nevin, this setback doesn’t signal a loss for the two-way sensation. As the season inches toward its conclusion, and with the Angels’ playoff hopes all but extinguished, Ohtani’s participation becomes a matter of careful consideration. The logic is straightforward – risking potential reinjury or exacerbating his condition would be detrimental to both Ohtani and the team. Nevertheless, Ohtani’s indomitable competitive spirit drives him to strive for victory alongside his teammates, as emphasized by Nevin.
It’s worth noting that Ohtani’s pitching endeavors were halted for the remainder of the season due to a torn UCL suffered a few weeks ago. However, he persisted in pursuing his hitting responsibilities, undeterred by the concurrent oblique issue. The question now arises: Is it wise to persist, delaying the inevitable, or should Ohtani be benched for the season to address the looming UCL tear?
“I don’t necessarily think it’s a setback, he just still has some soreness in there when he lets it go,” Nevin said. “He didn’t think he would have that today, but when he got in there, he did.”
In light of Ohtani’s impending free agency just a few months away, a strategic approach to managing this injury could prove beneficial. The objective would be to minimize the recovery period as much as possible. The Angels’ slim chances of making the playoffs render any attempt by Ohtani to play through his ailments rather futile. Nevertheless, at present, both Ohtani and the team maintain their resolve to see him back in action.
“Where that puts us as far as tomorrow? I don’t know. Is he gonna come here and try it again? I don’t know. Those are conversations that he and I are going to have. Yesterday he was very confident that he would feel fine enough to play today and then it just didn’t happen.”
The precarious situation surrounding Shohei Ohtani underscores the delicate balance between competition and recovery. As the season winds down, fans and analysts alike eagerly await the next chapter in Ohtani’s journey, where his dedication to winning collides with the necessity of healing.