Shuhei Ohtani is out of the squad due to a right side injury

Anaheim — Shuhei Ohtani was left out of the lineup for the second straight game on Tuesday, as he is still dealing with oblique tightness after injuring himself during batting practice prior to Monday’s game.

Ohtani, who was initially in the lineup on Monday before getting scratched, had more tests on Tuesday, but head coach Phil Nevin didn’t have an update on the severity of the injury ahead of the game. He did say Ohtani was feeling better and wanted to be in the lineup before Nivin snapped him up.

Ohtani, a favorite to win the AL MVP Award for the second time in three seasons, was not placed on the injured list on Tuesday, but that hasn’t been completely ruled out just yet.

“He woke up today feeling much better than he did last night when he left, but we’re still doing some assessment things with him,” Nevin said. “We’re just evaluating it. That’s all I can say.”

Ohtani, 29, batted 0.304/.412/.654 with 44 homers, eight triples, 26 doubles, 20 stolen bases, 95 RBIs and 102 runs scored in 135 games. He tied for the MLB lead with 44 strikeouts, also three outside the club record of 47 set by Troy Glaus in 2000.

Ohtani remained the club’s designated hitter even after he was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on August 23. He will not play again this season and is currently seeking multiple opinions on his facility, as he is ready to play free agency and is still determining his next course of action.

His agent, Nez Balilo, spoke to the media on Monday and indicated that surgery is a possibility, but it may not be a second surgery for Tommy John. He added that Ohtani will be ready to score at the start of next season, even if he undergoes surgery on his elbow.

Nivin said Ohtani has asked to be in the squad for every game since his elbow injury. But it is unclear if this oblique injury will force him to miss some time.

“I think that says a lot about who he is,” Nevin said. “And just for the record, he really wants to play now. He’s upset about it. He wants to play. It’s just a credit to who he is. If he starts something, he wants to finish it. He wants to be there, but these things can be difficult sometimes.” So we do more tests.

Ohtani has been a regular in the lineup this season despite the difficulty of being a two-way player. He’s only been left out of the lineup four times this season despite making 23 starts as a pitcher and going 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA and 167 strikeouts in 132 innings pitched.

Prior to Monday, the last time Ohtani was not the starting batter for the club was on May 2 against the Cardinals. The only other time was on April 12 against the Nationals. Mike Trott served as the designated hitter in both games, while Brandon Drury started there on Monday and Mike Moustakas was the DH on Tuesday. The Angels won both games with Trout as DH but lost on Monday, as Drury went 1-for-4 with a solo homer in the 6-3 defeat.

Niven said he had conversations with Ohtani through his translator Ippei Mizuhara before each match to see how Ohtani was feeling, but that it was ultimately Nivin’s choice if Ohtani was in the lineup.

“First, I prepare the lineup,” Nevin said. “If I want him to have a day off, I’ll ask him to take it. There are times when that has happened. And obviously it hasn’t been for a long time. I feel our conversations have always been good in that way. Today may or may not have been one of those days.” “I felt he might need another day or two, but we’re still evaluating him. He’s feeling much better today. He mentioned wanting to play, but I didn’t let him.”

(tags for translation) MLB

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