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Angels still have hopes for Shohei Ohtani as a 2-way player

Ohtani not expected to pitch again in 2020, though

MLB: Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Shohei Ohtani wasn’t in the Angels lineup at designated hitter on Tuesday against the Mariners, still feeling some soreness after suffering a forearm strain while pitching on Sunday. An MRI revealed a Grade 1-2 strain of the flexor pronator mass, after which the team says he won’t begin a throwing program for 4-6 weeks.

Given that there are only eight weeks remaining in the season, it’s unlikely that Ohtani will pitch again this season.

“I’m not anticipating him pitching at all this year,” manager Joe Maddon said on a conference call Tuesday.

Maddon also said there were no indications of arm trouble from Ohtani prior to Sunday.

Ohtani is expected to be back in the lineup either Wednesday or Thursday, and will be the team’s primary designated hitter going forward. Maddon said he still thinks Ohtani can be a two-way player in the major leagues.

“From what I’ve seen, I believe that he can. We’ve just got to get past the arm maladies and figure that out, Maddon said. “He’s such a high end arm and of course, what he could do in the batter’s box. Maybe he might get to the point where he may choose to want to do one thing over the other and just express that to us. I know he likes to hit. But as of right now, in my mind’s eye, he’s still going to be able to do this.”

In 2018 Ohtani missed four weeks of both pitching and hitting with an elbow sprain, but after he returned as a hitter he posted a slightly higher OPS and wRC+ the remainder of the season (.283/.354/.580, 153 wRC+) than he did beforehand (.289/.372/.535, 148 wRC+).