Rafael Betancourt is expected to come off the disabled list Friday and Jason Mastrodonato of MLB.com reports that he’ll slide right back into the Rockies’ closer role despite fill-in Rex Brothers doing a fantastic job.
Betancourt has missed the past month with a groin injury, during which time Brothers has thrown 8.2 shutout innings while converting all three of his save chances. And overall this season Brothers has a 0.28 ERA (yes, zero-point-two-eight) in 32.1 innings.
It’s a nice problem to have, of course, and Betancourt has quietly been one of the best closers in baseball since taking over the job full time last season, saving 42 games with a 2.91 ERA and 79/21 K/BB ratio in 77 innings despite calling Coors Field home.
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.