When Shohei Ohtani signed with the Los Angeles Angels prior to the 2018 season, they did so with the understanding that the same routine he used in Japan, to pitch every seven days, would continue. But as Ohtani heads into the final year of his initial deal, the Angels and Perry Minasian seem open to changing that up.
Winner of the 2021 MVP award, Ohtani showcased his entire arsenal on the mound to the tune of a 3.18 ERA and a 3.52 FIP in 23 starts. He finished the year with a 9-2 record and truly became the story of Major League Baseball.
His pace hasn’t slowed during his most tumultuous season with the club, and after a slow start to the season, Ohtani is firmly in the race for another MVP award.
His 2.69 ERA and 2.49 FIP in 20 starts are set to become career-bests as he continues to adapt and grow as an established superstar, but Minasian believes Ohtani is well-equipped to join a traditional rotation if he is up for it, via Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register:
“I wouldn’t count anything out,” Angels general manager Perry Minasian said on Friday. “I wouldn’t. The more experienced he gets, he’s well in tune with his body and what he can do and what he can’t do. So I would never rule anything out.
“But, with that being said, he’s been pretty good on (the sixth day). To make an adjustment from that with how he’s pitched would be a lot of conversations, but I wouldn’t rule it out.”
Ohtani has logged 117 innings thus far in 2022 and should post another career-high in innings following his next few starts. However, altering his usage is something he’s never done before and he’s dealt with some slight elbow issues in his four years in MLB, hence Minasian’s hesitation at the idea.
Mike Trout’s return to aid Shohei Ohtani, rest of Angels lineup
The Angels saw the return of their star centerfielder on Friday in his first game action since July 12 following his diagnosis of a rare back condition.
Trout’s absence had caused a ripple effect on the rest of the lineup given what he brings to a team and how he helps in protecting the hitters around him.
Angels interim manager Phil Nevin expects Trout to bring a much-needed element back to the lineup and will become a noticeable factor down the stretch.
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