The Los Angeles Angels' playoff hopes have, once again, gone by the wayside despite making a few moves prior to the trade deadline. Just to further rub salt on the Angels' wounds, Shohei Ohtani proceeded to tear the UCL on his throwing elbow, preventing him from suiting up on the mound for the foreseeable future, which constitutes for a ton of his value as an elite player.
While it's not all doom and gloom, as the Angels and every other team that's interested in signing Ohtani in free agency in a few months' time will still be getting one of the best hitters in the entire MLB, not having the Japanese international's services on the mound will sting. Thus, there may be a few what-ifs in the minds of executives regarding whether or not the Angels had an opportunity to prevent their talisman from suffering such a serious injury — especially when general manager Perry Minasian revealed that Ohtani's camp had refused an opportunity to do tests on his arm.
However, at the time, Shohei Ohtani and his agent believed that no such testing was necessary as all the Angels star felt at the time was finger cramping, which didn't exactly hamper his performance on the field in the coming days.
“If you recall, he was normal for his next start and threw 97 pitches. He beat the Giants. So he was fine, everything was good, so there were no issues with that,” Ohtani's agent, Nez Balelo told reporters, per Sam Blum of The Athletic. “It didn’t warrant it at all.”
For the inside story on the next Shohei Ohtani, listen below:
Even then, as the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure. Now, both the Angels and Shohei Ohtani will be ruing the fact that their star man did not take them up on the team's “suggestion” to run some tests.
“It was just a suggestion. Right after he came out, it was a suggestion like, maybe we need to get imaging. It was like, ‘Hold the fort, let’s find out what the deal is.’ I consulted with Shohei after,” Balelo added. “He was fine. It wasn’t any issues with the elbow, no issues with the shoulder. No problems. He was good to go.”
It's easy to see now in hindsight what Shohei Ohtani's camp should have done. But there's no use in pointing fingers now.