One day after releasing veteran right-handed reliever Juan Cruz the Pirates claimed veteran left-handed reliever Hisanori Takahashi off waivers from the Angels, who basically said “you can have him.”
That means the 37-year-old Takahashi and the remainder of his $4.2 million contract are now Pittsburgh property, and the Pirates will add him to their bullpen after the Angels had stashed him at Triple-A.
Takahashi posted an ugly 4.93 ERA in 42 innings for the Angels before the recent demotion, but also had an excellent 41/10 K/BB ratio and carries a 3.80 ERA in 232 career innings. Considering all the Pirates are responsible for is around $1 million it’s not a bad little pickup, although it’s also no surprise that the Angels were willing to just give him away.
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.