Getty Images

Nate Karns might need season-ending surgery

3 Comments

Two Royals pitchers are facing a premature end to the 2017 season, according to comments from club manager Ned Yost and vice president of communication Mike Swanson. Left-hander Matt Strahm underwent season-ending knee surgery on Friday after sustaining a torn patellar tendon in his left knee last week, while right-hander Nate Karns could potentially undergo thoracic outlet surgery after feeling prolonged discomfort in his right forearm. Both pitchers had already been placed on the 60-day disabled list prior to the announcement.

Karns, 29, was off to a promising start in his first season with the Royals. He went 2-2 in his first eight starts and turned in a 4.17 ERA, 2.6 BB/9 and 10.1 SO/9 over 45 1/3 innings. He’s still looking to bounce back from a tough run in Seattle last year, during which he sustained a serious lower back injury and produced an inflated 5.15 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 9.6 SO/9 through 94 1/3 innings.

The right-hander is expected to consult with thoracic outlet syndrome specialist Dr. Robert Thompson in the next few days, after which a decision will be made by the team. Should Karns’ forearm tightness require season-ending surgery, Yost said the righty should be ready to pitch again by spring training. With the second half approaching and neither Karns nor Strahm ready to resume their roles anytime soon, however, it seems more than likely that the club will start exploring external options to beef up their pitching staff as they chase down the division title.

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

Shohei Ohtani
Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports