The two-way superstar missed his 11th consecutive game with an oblique muscle injury Friday night when the Angels lost 11-2 to Detroit. Although Ohtani was at the stadium before the game, the soon-to-be free agent’s locker was largely empty afterward.
Nearly all of the personal items had been removed from his locker and the adjoining empty stall. A fully packed bag with a logo from the 2023 All-Star Game sat in front of his stall where his shoes would normally be, and only a few workout shirts hung on the rack.
Nearly a half-hour after reporters were allowed into the locker room and noticed the absence of Ohtani’s possessions, an Angels spokesman said the team will give more information about the development Saturday.
Ohtani will be a free agent this winter after six seasons with the Angels, and his future has been a constant source of speculation this season, only increasing after the Angels plummeted out of the playoff race in August. Ohtani has been mum about his future, and his recent injuries have further altered the discussion about his long-term plans.
He has already been shut down as a pitcher this season due to a tear in his right elbow ligament, but the Angels had held out hope he could to return as a hitter this month after straining his obliques in batting practice last week.
Ohtani is still the front-runner for his second AL MVP award in three years, but Texas‘ Corey Seager could be gaining in voters’ minds. Ohtani, who went 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA this season, leads the American League with 44 homers, and his 1.066 OPS is the second-best in the majors, now trailing Seager.
Reporting by The Associated Press.
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