Mike Trout, Max Scherzer
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Mike Trout says Max Scherzer is the best pitcher he has faced

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Golfer Brooks Koepka and Angels outfielder Mike Trout linked up on Nike Golf’s Instagram on Sunday. During their conversation, Koepka asked Trout which pitcher was the toughest he has faced in his career. Trout named Max Scherzer, saying he was happy when the right-hander went to the National League as a free agent in 2015.

Trout also went on to mention a memorable at-bat he had against Scherzer in the 2018 All-Star Game at Nationals Park. Scherzer struck out Mookie Betts and JosĂ© Altuve consecutively to start the first inning. He hoped to do the same to Trout, who fell behind 1-2 in the count, but he worked the count full. Trout then fouled off a couple of tough pitches before drawing ball four for a walk. Trout said, “It was the best at-bat I’ve ever had. He was throwing nasty pitches and I was just fouling stuff off.”

Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, is one of the few pitchers that has been able to hold Trout at bay. In 16 at-bats between the two, Trout has a .188/.188/.438 line with a double, a solo home run, and three runs scored. Scherzer has struck him out 10 times.

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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