Johan Santana “less and less likely” to be ready by Opening Day

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Adam Rubin has the details:

“So, from my standpoint, his arm is fine, as far as we know. Was he ready to pitch when he came into camp? No. Even he may have been a little surprised by that. So that leaves us where we are today. And where we are today is getting him ready to pitch as soon as we possibly can. We haven’t rule out Opening Day, although given when we think he might get on the mound, it becomes less and less likely. We haven’t given up on that notion yet. And we’ll see where it takes us.”

After missing all of the 2011 season, Johan Santana returned to form quickly in 2012. He threw five shut-out innings in his first start on April 5 and carried a 2.76 ERA through the end of June. Unfortunately, the injury problems began to mount. An ankle sprain in July forced him to miss 24 games and cut into his effectiveness. In his final five starts, ending August 17, he had a 15.63 ERA in 19 innings. He was shut down for the rest of the season due to lower back inflammation.

If Santana, who turns 34 on March 13, is unable to get ready by Opening Day, 26-year-old lefty Jonathon Niese will likely get the nod.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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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.