Angels GM says Shohei Ohtani declined team’s offer for testing prior to UCL tear

Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani and his camp declined testing on his arm prior to the imaging that revealed he has a torn UCL, general manager Perry Minasian said Saturday in New York. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Ohtani will not pitch the rest of the season after the injury was revealed earlier this week. Minasian said at the time it is unclear whether Ohtani will require surgery.
  • The 29-year-old exited his last start Wednesday against the Cincinnati Reds after 1 1/3 innings with arm fatigue, skipping his previous start due to the same issue.
  • Ohtani returned to the Angels’ lineup as a designated hitter Friday. The pending free agent leads MLB with 44 home runs.

The Athletic’s instant analysis:

What to make of Minasian’s comments

This feels like a clean-up by the Angels front office. Minasian has done two previous press availabilities since Ohtani’s injury and was asked about this topic but did not make this clear. He stated directly Friday that no imaging was done, and there was public blowback to that.

In fairness to Minasian and Los Angeles, if Ohtani wanted an MRI after his previous start, he would have gotten one. He has robust representation. That said, it’s also fair to criticize the team for not insisting he get checked given his fatigue. It would be great to hear directly from Ohtani or his agent on this topic, but they’ve been silent. — Blum

Could placing blame on Ohtani impact free-agency talks?

Another hugely relevant question here: Did Ohtani or his agent know Minasian would be saying this today? If not, it could be a topic of contention. They’re shifting the blame for not being thorough directly onto them, and away from the team.

And for an Angels team that would desperately like to re-sign the superstar, this could, in theory impact the relationship. Minasian said he has a great relationship with Ohtani and his agent Nez Balelo. But again, this entire situation has clearly grown into something that could create an issue. — Blum

Should Ohtani have gotten earlier imaging?

Without any medical expertise, it does feel pretty clear that Ohtani should have gotten imaging before taking the mound Wednesday. The team believes it would have been impossible for him to pitch 1 1/3 innings with a torn UCL, meaning the tear happened while pitching.

But Ohtani’s workload and fatigue meant he should have gotten looked at ahead of time. Whoever’s fault that is, who knows? But it should have happened. — Blum


The Angels, who have gone 6-16 in August, went all-in around Ohtani at the trade deadline. His ERA sits at 3.14 through 132 innings this year and he is slashing .305/.408/.665.

Ohtani previously underwent Tommy John surgery in October 2018.

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(Photo: Brad Penner / USA Today)

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