Joey Gallo
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Joey Gallo exits game with oblique injury

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Rangers centerfielder Joey Gallo was lifted from Saturday’s 6-2 win over the Royals after experiencing tightness in his left oblique. While the extent of his injury has yet to be determined, he’s expected to undergo an MRI and appears likely to end up on the injured list, if only as a precaution.

Gallo broke through a scoreless tie in the fourth inning with a first-pitch, two-RBI home run against the Royals’ Homer Bailey, but didn’t survive his second trip to the plate in the fifth. He made it through a handful of pitches from Bailey before grabbing at his side, at which point he consulted with club manager Chris Woodward and a team trainer. He left the game shortly afterward and was replaced by outfielder and pinch-hitter Danny Santana, who grounded into a force out and stole second base before the inning came to an uneventful end.

Per Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Gallo initially felt discomfort in his oblique after returning a base hit from Cheslor Cuthbert in the top of the fourth, but elected to remain in the game until his next at-bat.

Injury notwithstanding, the 25-year-old is off to a strong start in 2019. He exited Saturday’s game with a .276/.421/.653 batting line, 17 home runs, and an AL-best 1.074 OPS through 214 plate appearances. Should Gallo be confined to the injured list for the next couple of weeks, Wilson adds that Triple-A outfielders Delino DeShields and Zack Granite may be in line to replace him in center field.

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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