Angels’ right-hander Matt Shoemaker hit another bump in the road to recovery this week and is facing a shutdown period of 7-10 days after team doctors diagnosed him with posterior interosseous nerve syndrome in his right forearm. He was treated with a cortisone shot on Thursday and officially recalled from his rehab assignment in High-A Inland Empire, per a team announcement on Friday.
Shoemaker, 30, is currently serving his fifth run with the Angels. He was initially placed on the 10-day disabled list in mid-June with a right forearm strain and was expected back in the Angels’ rotation sometime after the All-Star break. Prior to his setback, he was riding a 6-3 record through 14 starts, with a 4.52 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over his first 77 2/3 innings of the year.
While Shoemaker’s first rehab start looked promising, incurring only two hits and striking out five batters in three scoreless innings, the righty felt discomfort in his pitching arm following the outing. According to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, he likely won’t rejoin the team for another 3-4 weeks, putting his estimated return date somewhere around the beginning of August.
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.