Shohei Ohtani's locker cleaned out, Angels trash his water bottle as star's season likely ends unceremoniously

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Shohei Ohtani’s locker at Angel Stadium was cleared out following the team’s loss to the Detroit Tigers on Friday night (DET 11, LAA 2). His equipment and personal effects were packed into a 2023 All-Star Game duffle bag and his water bottle was in the trash, according to reporters on the scene. The Angels will address the matter and Ohtani’s status Saturday, reports.

Ohtani has not played since Sept. 3 because of an oblique injury, though he is not on the injured list. The Angels have listed Ohtani as day-to-day since he hurt his oblique taking batting practice on Sept. 4, and in recent days he has gone through pregame workouts but was unable to play in the actual game.

“He’s always wanting to play,” Angels manager Phil Nevin told prior to Friday’s game. “He’s just going through his stuff.”

Ohtani also has a torn ligament in his right (pitching) elbow and agent Nez Balelo recently said it is “inevitable” the two-way superstar will have some kind of procedure on the elbow. Tommy John surgery is the usual treatment for torn elbow ligaments but not always. Alternative procedures are available for certain tears.

The news Ohtani’s locker is cleared out came a few hours after third baseman Anthony Rendon confirmed he has a fractured tibia, and said he doesn’t know why the team hid the diagnosis. They have called it a bone bruise. Rendon has not played since July 4. The Angels tend to be misleading with injury issues and that’s putting it kindly.

Regardless, Ohtani’s locker being cleared out all but confirms he will not play again this season. He will be a free agent this winter and, even with the elbow injury and the “inevitable” surgery, Ohtani will be a hot commodity. The sooner he has surgery though, the sooner he can return to the field, first as a hitter and then as a pitcher later on.

Ohtani’s last appearance came on Labor Day weekend in Oakland, where he went 0 for 3 with two walks. The contest could have been his final game as an Angel.

Ohtani, 29, is set to finish his season with a .304/.412/.654 batting line and an AL-leading 44 home runs as a hitter. He threw 132 innings with a 3.14 ERA and 167 strikeouts as a pitcher. Ohtani leads all players with 10.0 WAR and the case can be made his 2021-23 seasons are the greatest three-year run in baseball history.

The Angels are 68-80 and 13.5 games behind a wild-card spot with 14 games to play. They could be eliminated from postseason contention as soon as Saturday. The Angels have not been to the postseason since 2014 and have never had a winning record with Ohtani.

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