The Los Angeles Angels might rely on Shohei Ohtani a bit less going forward, as the two-way superstar’s fatigue is becoming a bit of a concern.
“I have been pitching more often compared to the last two years,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com. “There are times I feel a little more fatigued, maybe because of that. But for the most part, I feel pretty good and healthy right now. The goal is to stay healthy until the end of the season.”
Ohtani, a pending free agent, has thrown 76 innings so far this year, tied for 26th-most in the majors. Pro-rated over the full campaign, Ohtani is on pace to throw 183 2/3 innings, easily eclipsing his former career high of 166 innings set last year.
He’s primarily been pitching every sixth day, but the Angels recently gave the 2021 AL MVP an extra day off between his two most recent starts.
“We’ll map (his workload) out,” manager Phil Nevin said. “I think he just meant he was fatigued in the game. Sometimes that happens. The amount of pitches he had to throw to get some outs fatigued him a little bit. I think it just had to do with the game, not necessarily where he’s at in the season.”
On top of throwing more innings, Ohtani is also being asked to eclipse the 100-pitch threshold more frequently. This year, the two-time All-Star has gone beyond the century mark in five of his 13 starts, going as high as 111 pitches back in early April. Last year over the full season, he hit the 100-pitch mark 10 times and surpassed it only seven times in 28 starts.
The 28-year-old is putting together a predictably incredible platform season heading into free agency this winter, authoring a 3.32 ERA and 4.17 FIP while also hitting 18 homers and stealing nine bases in 65 games as a hitter.
The Angels are currently 36-31, 6.5 games back of the first-place Texas Rangers and 1.5 games back of the third AL wild-card spot.
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