Ahead of Monday night’s game against the Yankees, Angels manager Phil Nevin told reporters that two-way star Shohei Ohtani is on track to make his next scheduled pitching start on Friday against the Pirates, per ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez. Ohtani has exited each of his past two outings on the mound due to a blister on the middle finger of his right hand.
After completing six or more innings in 10 of his 12 starts from April 21 to June 27, Ohtani has only managed five frames in his last two trips to the mound. In addition to preventing him from pitching deeper into games, the blister has had an impact on his production: he’s given up a combined 10 runs (nine earned) over 10 innings in those starts, with seven walks and two home runs allowed.
The update on Ohtani comes as the Angels remain mired in a midseason tailspin, with losses in 11 of their past 13 games. That knocked the team down to six games back of the third and final American League wild-card spot, causing speculation that the club could consider trading Ohtani at the Aug. 1 trade deadline. The 2021 AL MVP will be a free agent after this season.
“The goal is just to win each day,” Nevin said Sunday when asked about needing to win in order to keep Ohtani. “You can’t ignore the talk and what’s going on; you hear it every day, I’m asked about it every day. I don’t know about him. But I don’t think it’s an extra incentive like, ‘Oh, we got to win to keep Shohei.’ Those are things that are out of our control. They’re out of my control. Those are front-office decisions.”