Brandon League blew his fourth save of the season on Friday night, allowing three runs in a 6-4 loss to the Angels. Today, he faced the consequences.
According to Larry Larue of the Tacoma News Tribune, Mariners skipper Eric Wedge announced Saturday afternoon that League has been demoted to a setup role. Save chances will be spread around to different members of the Seattle ‘pen going forward.
“We’ll match up with what we think works,” Wedge told reporters. “We’ve only got seven guys in the bullpen, and Hisashi Iwakuma is the long guy and League will work in other roles for now. Other than them, it could be anyone, depending upon the situation. It’s not ideal, but this is where we’re at. … We’re not going to name another closer.”
League has registered a 4.43 ERA, 13/12 K/BB ratio and 1.62 WHIP in 20 1/3 innings of relief this season. He’s scheduled to become a free agent five days after the conclusion of the 2012 World Series.
The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.
Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”
Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.
Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.