Angels' Scioscia: Making Ohtani a reliever would 'be the wrong path'
With Shohei Ohtani possibly undergoing Tommy John surgery this offseason, Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia is being faced with the question of whether the team should pivot the phenom to the bullpen.
"Nobody has a crystal ball, but I would think that would be the wrong path to take with Shohei because he's shown no issues with being able to get into that 100-110 pitch count and being able to bounce back," Scioscia told Maria Guardado of MLB.com.
"Once he makes a decision and everything is taken care of, he should be able to get back in the rotation and be that dynamic starter he has the potential to be. It's not as easy as you think being a closer. There are a lot of times you're warming up. You're still going to pitch in 70 games and there's times you're going to warm up and not get into a game. That would be tough to do with him in the lineup and swinging the bat also."
Early in September, after returning from a Grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow to pitch against the Houston Astros, Ohtani suffered from new UCL damage and was recommended Tommy John surgery by medical staff. The 24-year-old has remained the club's DH, posting a .290/.370/.587 slash line with 20 home runs and nine stolen bases as a rookie this year.
Ohtani has not considered abandoning pitching since the prognosis, but would likely require offseason surgery and would be sidelined - at least as a pitcher - for the entirety of the 2019 season.
Bolstering a relatively weak staff, Ohtani was slotted in as the No. 4 starter on the Angels' depth chart. Despite being held to 51 2/3 innings, Ohtani's 3.31 ERA ranks as the best in the Halos' rotation among starters with at least 50 innings pitched.
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