Saturday, May 18, 2024

Shohei Ohtani ‘turned down’ Angels’ offer of imaging weeks before elbow injury

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NEW YORK — Perry Minasian wanted to set the record straight in the wake of rampant questions about the way the Angels handled Shohei Ohtani in the weeks leading up to his injury.

The Angels general manager called the media together in the dugout before Saturday’s game to reveal that the team offered to have Ohtani undergo imaging earlier this month.

“He and his representation turned it down,” Minasian said. “I understand why. It was a cramp in his finger and they didn’t believe it warranted imaging.”

Three weeks later, Ohtani was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament that will prevent him from pitching for at least the rest of this season.

Minasian said there is no reason to believe any injury existed before Wednesday, when Ohtani came out of the game. An MRI exam Wednesday revealed the tear.

“From the information we have, it happened that last game,” Minasian said.

Ohtani’s side is operating off the same information to which Minasian referred. Minasian obviously would not have offered the clarification to the media without clearing it with Ohtani and his agent, Nez Balelo.

“I have a great relationship with Nez and Sho and obviously Ippei (Mizuhara) is part of that,” Minasian said. “Obviously the three years we’ve worked together have been productive years.”

Minasian offered no further information about the severity of the tear, or about what the timeline is for Ohtani to determine his course of treatment. If he needs a second Tommy John surgery, he would not able to pitch until 2025. He could still hit for most of the time in between, as he is doing now.

Ohtani had issues with blisters and a cracked nail in July, and he left his Aug. 3 start after four innings because of cramping in his finger. At that time, the Angels offered the imaging.

Minasian said it is always ultimately up to the player to decide what tests he undergoes.

“It’s a relationship of trust,” Minasian said. “The player and I have done it for three years. I believe he’s had three pretty good seasons doing it the way we did it. Me personally, I have zero regrets. It happens. There are injuries that happen in baseball. And this is an unfortunate one. That is obviously tough for us, tough for him and tough for the game. He’s obviously great to watch on both sides.”

Ohtani took the ball again for his normal turn a week after the cramping incident. He was able to get through his start Aug. 9, although afterward he said he didn’t feel like himself. He then asked to have a start skipped because of fatigue, so the Angels allowed him two weeks before the start against the Cincinnati Reds.

“Didn’t go on the IL,” Minasian said. “He kept playing, kept hitting. Felt good when he threw. He was ready to pitch. He knows himself as well as anybody. When he says ‘I’m ready to go,’ there’s nobody I believe more. Let me put it that way.”

NOTES

First baseman Nolan Schanuel was scratched from the Angels lineup Saturday because of what manager Phil Nevin described as food poisoning. Nevin said “hopefully” Schanuel would be able to play Sunday. …

Shortstop Zach Neto (lower back inflammation) said he ran, played catch and was to begin taking dry swings Saturday, his second day of baseball activity since going on the injured list. He said there’s no timetable for his return. “I’m actually feeling way better,” he said. “Sometimes I wake up a little sore, but that soreness is going away day by day.”

UP NEXT

Angels (RHP Griffin Canning, 7-4, 4.61) vs. Mets (LHP David Peterson, 3-7, 5.59), 9:05 a.m. Sunday, Citi Field, Peacock, 830 AM

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