After taking two of three from the Chicago White Sox, the Los Angeles Angels returned home for the start of their final home-stand of the regular season.
Shohei Ohtani initially was scheduled to start Friday’s series opener against the Oakland Athletics but was unable to do so because of soreness in his throwing arm.
The two-way star felt some discomfort when he last played catch on Wednesday. However, Angels manager Joe Maddon immediately quelled concerns about injury.
Maddon believed the soreness is normal for a pitcher this late in the year and added that there are no plans for Ohtani to see a doctor, via Ryan Herrera of MLB.com:
“It’s just soreness, I think it is, from a long year,” Maddon said. “That’d be my guess, but there’s been no plans on him seeing any kind of a doctor.”
Despite Maddon originally believing that shutting Ohtani down for the remainder of the season — as a pitcher — was an option, he is now scheduled to start Sunday against the Athletics, via the Angels:
This Sunday: Shohei Ohtani’s next scheduled start 📆
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) September 18, 2021
The Angels have been cautious with Ohtani all season long, as they should. Even though he has put together perhaps the greatest individual season of all time, there have still been moments of abundant caution, including missing almost two weeks of pitching when he took an errant foul ball to the wrist.
Playing it safe undoubtedly would have been the best course of action to take as opposed to rushing Ohtani back for one or two additional starts this season. However, his bullpen session on Friday was clearly a big success.
Knowing how this organization has operated with Ohtani, they would not have brought him back without good reason.
Cobb surprises himself with excellent return
Though there were concern that he too would be out for the season like so many other Angels players, L.A. welcomed back Alex Cobb on Thursday afternoon for the first time since July 23.
The right-hander allowed just two hits in five scoreless innings against the White Sox, revealed after the Angels’ 9-3 win that he was surprised with how well he pitched.