Shohei Ohtani is not in the Los Angeles Angels’ starting lineup for tonight’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Third baseman Anthony Rendon will join him on the bench as well. On the bright side, outfielder Taylor Ward is back in the Angels’ lineup after missing a handful of games due to a shoulder injury.
Ohtani’s absence is not unexpected. He pitched six innings in Thursday’s loss to the Blue Jays but did so while dealing with back stiffness. His four-team fastball was about 1.5 mph less than its season average, and Ohtani attributed that velocity drop to the injury. Once Ohtani finished his outing on the mound, he was pinch-hit for by Ward in the eighth inning.
After the game, neither Ohtani nor manager Joe Maddon expressed much concern about the injury, although Maddon did hint that the two-way superstar may not play Friday. However, the Angels’ head trainer said Friday that Ohtani is feeling better and available to pinch-hit.
Shohei Ohtani is feeling better after experiencing some stiffness in the right side of his back. He’s available to pinch-hit and he’s still on track to make his next start on the mound, per head trainer Mike Frostad— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) May 27, 2022
Thursday’s pinch-hit appearance was Ward’s first game action since May 20, when he crashed into the outfield wall after making a great catch. That collision left him with a neck stinger that has caused some weakness in his right shoulder. Although his inclusion in tonight’s lineup is a good sign, Maddon said Ward is still unable to play the outfield due to some lingering weakness. Ward was leading all qualified players with an 1.183 OPS before his injury.
Rendon is out of the lineup after feeling some discomfort in his right wrist during Thursday’s game, although he did play all nine innings.
Anthony Rendon isn’t in the Angels lineup. He had an MRI today on his right wrist after feeling discomfort during a swing Thursday.— Steve Henson (@SteveHenson) May 27, 2022
The third baseman is hitting .242 with five homers in 149 at-bats this season. Tyler Wade is taking his place at the hot corner against Blue Jays ace Alek Manoah.