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Report: Angels ‘cautiously optimistic’ Shohei Ohtani will play again this season

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This morning, we learned of a report from ESPN’s Pedro Gomez, which said that Angels pitcher/DH Shohei Ohtani was likely to undergo Tommy John surgery, causing him to miss the remainder of the 2018 season and all of the 2019 season. Things may not be so dire. Jon Morosi reports that the Angels are “cautiously optimistic” Ohtani will play again this season, at least as a hitter and possibly as a pitcher as well.

That is, obviously, great news if it holds up. Ohtani was tremendous both as a pitcher and as a hitter. He compiled a 3.10 ERA with a 61/20 K/BB ratio in 49 1/3 innings across nine starts. He also hit .289/.372/.535 with six home runs and 20 RBI in 129 plate appearances. The Angels are in contention in the AL West, entering Monday’s action 4.5 games behind the first-place Mariners and Astros.

The Angels signed Ohtani in December. He’s earning $545,000 this season plus a $2.3 million signing bonus. The Angels also had to pay a $20 million posting fee to the Nippon Ham Fighters of the Japanese Pacific League.

Yasmani Grandal played himself out of NLCS Game 4

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Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has not had a good postseason. Entering Monday night’s NLCS Game 3, he was batting .111/.238/.278 in 21 trips to the plate across the NLDS and the first two games of the NLCS.

Defense has also been an issue for Grandal. In Game 1 of the NLCS, Grandal was on the hook for two passed balls. In the sixth inning of Game 3 Monday night, he couldn’t corral a curve in the dirt, which allowed Travis Shaw to score the Brewers’ second run of the night. Starter Walker Buehler was charged with a wild pitch. In the eighth, with Ryan Braun on first base and Shaw at the plate, Grandal again couldn’t corral a pitch in the dirt, allowing Braun to move to second base. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Alex Wood was able to escape the inning with no damage.

Manager Dave Roberts said that Austin Barnes, not Grandal, will start behind the plate for Game 4 on Tuesday night, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. That comes as no surprise at all. When Grandal struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Dodger fans regaled him with boos.

Barnes will be an upgrade defensively, but he’s lacking with the bat. He had an 0-for-3 performance in Game 2, though with an RBI, bringing his career slash line in the playoffs to .200/.281/.300 across 57 plate appearances. During the regular season, his career 100 adjusted OPS is a fair bit behind Grandal’s 115. Roberts is trading offense for defense in Game 4. Rich Hill will get the start opposite the Brewers’ Gio González.