Shohei Ohtani feels he let the Angels down in his second season
He was particularly frustrated with a stretch of games right after the All-Star break, when he hit .231 with one homer over a 25-game span. During that the period the Angels had a 4-13 stretch that knocked them out of contention.“Right after the All-Star break our team was in a good spot to make a playoff run,” Ohtani said. “I felt like coming out of the All-Star break was going to be a key. That’s when my struggles really started. I couldn’t really help the team win. It kind of killed our postseason chances.”Manager Brad Ausmus was not quite as hard on Ohtani as the player was on himself.“I thought he had a solid offensive year,” Ausmus said, adding that he is “not concerned” about the reduction in homers.Ohtani, 25, had been hitting the ball as hard as last year, but his mechanics were out of whack and he wasn’t getting the ball in the air enough. Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros When Ohtani had the knee surgery he was still about a month away from completing the throwing portion of his rehab from Tommy John surgery, so now that’s on hold. Although he won’t be 100 percent from the knee surgery until sometime in November, Ohtani said he can resume light throwing “really soon.”At some point in December he’s expected to reach 100 percent in terms of throwing. He had been scheduled to face hitters, for about 40 to 60 pitches, in October, but it’s unclear if he’ll go that far now, Ausmus said.Ohtani will then have some time off before beginning spring training, presumably at 100 percent as a pitcher and a hitter.General Manager Billy Eppler said the plan for next year is to have Ohtani pitch once a week and be the designated hitter about four times a week, just as he did in the first two months of 2018, before hurting his elbow.“I feel like nothing is set for me,” Ohtani said. “I still need to win a spot in spring training. But personally I feel like I’ll be ready to go from Opening Day just like last year.” Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros In retrospect, it’s fair to ask whether playing the season with a knee condition, or even with a surgically repaired elbow, might have affected his performance at the plate.“It’s hard to tell, because I had never played with a perfect knee or perfect elbow so I can’t give you that answer,” Ohtani said. “But I just need to accept this year’s results and get strong and come back next year.”Ohtani is a couple weeks into rehabbing from the surgery to correct his bipartite patella in his left knee. It is a congenital condition in which the kneecap remains two pieces, instead of one. Ohtani said he’d known about it for some time, but he’d never felt any pain until this year.Apparently the pain was manageable enough that Ohtani said he could have continued to play the rest of the season with it, but he wanted to have the surgery “just for that peace of mind.”Related Articles Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error ANAHEIM — Shohei Ohtani’s second season in the big leagues started and ended with him rehabbing, and he wasn’t all that thrilled with what happened in between.“I felt like I could have put together a lot better season,” Ohtani said through his interpreter on Tuesday. “I felt like I was going through struggles that lasted a little too long. It wasn’t what I imagined, especially with the team situation. It should have been a lot better.”Ohtani, who addressed the media for the first time since undergoing surgery to correct a congenital knee condition on Sept. 13, was disappointed with his overall performance the season after winning the American League Rookie of the Year award.Ohtani hit .286 with 18 homers and an .848 OPS in 425 plate appearances. He missed the first five weeks rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. The previous year, pitching and the injury limited him to 367 plate appearances, but he hit 22 homers with a .925 OPS.