The Los Angeles Angels’ losing streak extended to four games on Wednesday after being swept by the Cincinnati Reds in a split doubleheader at Angel Stadium. But of greater concern was Shohei Ohtani sustaining a UCL injury that will keep him out as a pitcher for the remainder of the 2023 season.
Ohtani took the mound in the first game after skipping his last start due to arm fatigue and lasted just 1.1 innings before he was removed. It was a crushing blow to an Angels team that saw Mike Trout return to the 10-day injured list one day after being activated.
Prior to his injury, Ohtani dazzled the crowd with his MLB-leading 44th home run of the season, a majestic blast that had an exit velocity of 115.7 mph and traveled 442 feet.
It was Ohtani’s only at-bat of the game, though he returned for the nightcap and went 1-for-5 with a double. While standing on second base, Reds rookie sensation Elly De La Cruz jokingly poked Ohtani to see if he is real, via ESPN’s Alden González:
Elly De La Cruz touching Shohei Ohtani to see if he’s real and Ohtani giving him crap for where he hit a ball with an off-balance swing.
The language of baseball > pic.twitter.com/MJMGyUTtoN
— Alden González (@Alden_Gonzalez) August 24, 2023
The lighthearted moment between Ohtani and De La Cruz perfectly encapsulates what makes baseball so great. The two players come from vastly different backgrounds but have a mutual respect for one another and appreciate the talent they bring to the field.
Ohtani and De La Cruz are two of the most exciting players in baseball and figure to have long, successful careers that include numerous accolades.
Will Shohei Ohtani remain Angels DH for remainder of 2023 season?
Although he has been ruled out of pitching again this season, all indications are that Ohtani will be able to remain in the Angels lineup as the designated hitter.
That could change as the season winds down, but for now, Ohtani will be able to add to his case for what should be unanimous American League MVP honors.