Clearly something’s not right with Ohtani if he missing time. But I was thinking about this a couple days before the news broke. Not because I’m a genius or have the gift of foresight like Elrond, but because a certain Hall of Fame pitcher tweeted two days ago about the schedule and the workload of both hitting and pitching catching up to Ohtani.
Pedro didn’t get into what he thought was bothering Ohtani necessarily, but knew something was up. The fact that it’s a blister leads me to think the problem isn’t the balancing act necessarily, but more the general workload major league pitchers.
Doesn’t help Ohtani lives off his splitter, too. Makes him more inclined to blisters.
If pitching is too much, at what point do the Angels talk with Ohtani about becoming a hitter exclusively? He’s clearly shown he can do both. Let’s say he decides to just hit, I guarantee we see his production improve the instant he stops pitching. And I think it’d be the same case if he chose pitching over hitting (though maintaining his health is a clearly a bit of a problem right now.)
At the same time, one of the things that I think made the Angels so appealing was Ohtani had room to work through things like this, versus a Chicago or New York where he’d need to stay healthy and perform right away.
I don’t think he’ll budge on it, but if this becomes a recurring issue Ohtani should consider stepping down from the mound so it doesn’t affect how often he hits. He has a luxury no one else does, but if he doesn’t handle it correctly that could turn into something that holds him back from increasing his stock down the road.
Update (6:08 PM on 6/18/18):
Turns out Ohtani’s elbow isn’t exactly in great shape either. Angels announced he has a Grade 2 UCL sprain and received PRP and stem-cell injections Thursday and will be re-evaluated in 3 weeks.
Maybe time to re-evaluate if he wants to continue with both hitting and pitching or just do one or the other.
Oh, and (unfortunately for Ohtani) what a call by Pedro!