In Anaheim, California, there’s a notable development surrounding Shohei Ohtani’s presence at Angel Stadium. The Angels chose not to provide an explanation for this on Friday night.
Ohtani, the versatile athlete who excels both as a pitcher and hitter, was absent from his 11th consecutive game due to an oblique muscle injury when the Angels faced a tough 11-2 loss against the Detroit Tigers. Interestingly, Ohtani was present at the stadium before the game, but afterward, his locker seemed to have been significantly cleared out.
Most of Ohtani’s personal belongings had been removed from his locker, and the neighboring stall was also vacant. Strikingly, a bag with the 2023 All-Star Game logo occupied the space where his shoes would usually be, with only a handful of workout shirts hanging on the rack.
Nearly half an hour later, after reporters had entered the locker room and noticed the unusual absence of Ohtani’s possessions, an Angels spokesperson stated that more information regarding this development would be provided on Saturday.
Looking ahead, Ohtani is set to become a free agent this winter following six seasons with the Angels. His future has been a topic of ongoing speculation, particularly as the Angels’ playoff hopes dwindled in August. Ohtani has remained tight-lipped about his future plans, and his recent injuries have further fueled discussions about his long-term trajectory.
Although Ohtani has already been sidelined as a pitcher this season due to a right elbow ligament tear, there was optimism that he might return as a hitter after sustaining an oblique strain during batting practice last week.
Despite these uncertainties, Ohtani remains a strong contender for his second American League Most Valuable Player Award in three years. However, Texas’ Corey Seager appears to be gaining ground in the minds of voters. Ohtani, who posted a 10-5 record with a 3.14 ERA this season, leads the American League with 44 home runs, and his impressive 1.066 OPS ranks second in the majors, with Corey Seager now taking the lead.