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Angels manager Joe Maddon reiterates lack of concern about Shohei Ohtani’s velocity drop

Angels manager Joe Maddon reiterates lack of concern about Shohei Ohtani’s velocity drop

ANAHEIM — A day after Shohei Ohtani’s velocity sent up red flags for anyone watching, Joe Maddon did his best to slow the spread of panic.

Maddon insisted on Thursday morning that so far there is no reason to worry that Ohtani is injured or even fatigued based on one game in which his fastball was 89-91 mph instead of 95-98 mph. Ohtani did crank it up to 95 for a brief stretch on Wednesday.

“I don’t want to overreach because his velocity wasn’t his normal velocity,” Maddon said. “That happens to a lot of pitchers at different times of the year. I’m not just going to go off one outing that his fastball wasn’t what we thought it would be, so I want to continue with the same program.”

Ohtani, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018 and suffered a forearm injury in 2020, also insisted after he pitched on Wednesday night that he had no concerns about injury. He just said body felt a little heavy. He had said the same thing after his previous start, when his velocity was near his normal level and he gave up one run in seven innings.

“He described feeling the same way in Houston, when he had a really good day,” Maddon said. “Let’s just get him back out there the next time. I’ll see what it looks like. For me, I want to continue along that same path. I don’t like to overreact to one brief moment.”

Maddon was also asked if Ohtani needed to change his between-starts routine. He said that Ohtani already limits his throwing, and he wants to trust that Ohtani knows how to prepare himself.

“I think overall he’s proven this year, given the opportunity to do two things, that you should listen to him,” Maddon said. “Between what he’s doing at the plate and on the mound, I don’t see any real reason to interfere.”

Maddon did give Ohtani a partial day off on Thursday, leaving him out of the lineup as the DH for the first game of the doubleheader. He said Ohtani would be the DH for the second game. He also said Ohtani would be the DH for all three games this weekend against the Oakland A’s.

“I would imagine he’s going to play this weekend, every game,” Maddon said. “But if he has any indicators of being fatigued, of course we would call an audible.”

NOTES

The Angels optioned José Quijada to create a roster spot for Alex Cobb, who was activated from the injured list to start Game 1 of the doubleheader. …

José Suarez was promoted to be the 27th man for the doubleheader. …

The Angels are undecided on their starters for Saturday and Sunday. Maddon said Dylan Bundy, Andrew Heaney and Patrick Sandoval are all healthy, but they are trying to decide on which two will pitch and in what order. …

Chris Rodriguez (shoulder) is scheduled for his second bullpen session on Friday. There is still no specific timetable for his return. “I know he’s doing really well,” Maddon said. “I don’t think he’s far off.”

UP NEXT

Angels (LHP José Quintana, 0-3, 8.53 ERA) vs. A’s (RHP James Kaprielian, 1-0, 1.80), Friday, 6:38 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM


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