What’s on Tap: Previewing Wednesday’s afternoon action

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We have five afternoon contests today, including a Clayton Kershaw performance. Yes, he gets his own solo billing now. And why not? Kershaw is 7-0 over his last eight starts and hasn’t allowed more than two runs in a game over that stretch. He has likewise struck out at least ten batters in eight of his last 10 starts. The dude is as dominant as it gets.

Elsewhere we see the continuation of the Cubs-Nationals series with Jason Hammel taking on Stephen Strasburg. The Yankees play the Rockies too. Here’s hoping that the carnage of last night doesn’t carry over into today. Someone, please, think of the bullpens.

New York Yankees (Ivan Nova) @ Colorado Rockies (Chad Bettis), 3:10 PM EDT, Coors Field

Los Angeles Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (Patrick Corbin), 3:40 PM EDT, Chase Field

Miami Marlins (Justin Nicolino) @ San Diego Padres (Luis Perdomo), 3:40 PM EDT, Petco Park

Milwaukee Brewers (Jimmy Nelson) @ San Francisco Giants (Johnny Cueto), 3:45 PM EDT, AT&T Park

Chicago Cubs (Jason Hammel) @ Washington Nationals (Stephen Strasburg), 4:05 PM EDT, Nationals Park

Maddon: Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch again for Angels this year

Shohei Ohtani
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Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch again this season for the Los Angeles Angels after straining his right forearm in his second start, manager Joe Maddon says.

Ohtani likely will return to the Angels’ lineup as their designated hitter this week, Maddon said Tuesday night before the club opened a road series against the Seattle Mariners.

The Angels’ stance on Ohtani is unsurprising after the club announced he had strained the flexor pronator mass near the elbow of his pitching arm. The two-way star’s recovery from the strain requires him to abstain from throwing for four to six weeks, which covers most of the shortened 2020 season.

“I’m not anticipating him pitching at all this year,” Maddon said. “Any kind of throwing program is going to be very conservative.”

Ohtani was injured Sunday in the second inning of his second start since returning to the mound following Tommy John surgery in late 2018. Ohtani issued five walks during the 42-pitch inning against the Houston Astros, with his velocity dropping later in the frame.

The arm injury is another obstacle in Ohtani’s path to becoming the majors’ first true two-way player in decades. He made 10 mound starts as a rookie in 2018 before injuring his elbow, but he served as the Angels’ regular designated hitter last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Ohtani has pitched in only three games since June 2018, but the Angels still believe in Ohtani’s ability to be a two-way player, Maddon said.

“I’m seeing that he can,” Maddon said. “We’ve just got to get past the arm maladies and figure that out. But I’ve seen it. He’s just such a high-end arm, and we’ve seen what he can do in the batter’s box. Now maybe it might get to the point where he may choose to do one thing over the other and express that to us. I know he likes to hit. In my mind’s eye, he’s still going to be able to do this.”

The veteran manager believes Ohtani will benefit from a full spring training and a normal season. Ohtani wasn’t throwing at full strength for a starter when the coronavirus pandemic shut down spring training in March because he wasn’t expected to pitch until May as he returned from surgery.

“Going into a regular season with a normal number of starts and all the things that permit guys to be ready for a year, that’s what we need to see is some normalcy before you make that kind of determination,” Maddon said.

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