Shohei Ohtani celebrates a grand slam in May 2022. (MARIO GERSHOM REYES/Rafu Shimpo)

Rafu Wire Service and Staff Reports

Shohei Ohtani will not pitch the remainder of the season after being diagnosed with elbow ligament damage Wednesday, when he left his scheduled start after just 1-1/3 innings, Angels General Manager Perry Minasian said.

Ohtani was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow after leaving the first game of the Angels’ doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds, who swept both games at Angel Stadium, 9-4 in the opener and 7-3 in the nightcap.

“He has a tear, and he won’t pitch the rest of the year,” said a clearly disappointed Minasian following the second game of the doubleheader. “We’re going to get a second opinion, go from there.”

The Japanese two-way star hit his MLB-leading 44th home run, with a man on, in the first inning of the opener. Ohtani struck out two and walked one before leaving with “arm fatigue” and was removed for a pinch-hitter.

He returned to play in the second game as the Angels’ designated hitter and went 1-for-5 with a double and a run scored but was robbed of a two-out two-run double by Reds center fielder TJ Friedl.

As a pitcher, Ohtani has a 10-5 record with a 3.14 ERA and 167 strikeouts over 132 innings in 23 starts this season.

On Thursday, the Angels announced that Ohtani will continue as designated hitter for the time being.

Ohtani was with the team in New York as they began a weekend series with the Mets. Japanese compatriot and Mets right-hander Kodai Senga was scheduled to start Friday’s game.

Ohtani missed the second half of his first MLB season after suffering an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery, but that did not prevent him from continuing to hit and winning the American League Rookie of the Year Award.

In 2021, he was the unanimous selection for AL Most Valuable Player. With his free agency looming, this season, in which he is the league’s MVP favorite, could be Ohtani’s last in an Angels uniform.

To compound the loss of Ohtani’s pitching, the Angels on Friday returned outfielder Mike Trout to the injury list, having played just one game after returning to action after seven weeks. The wrist fractured he suffered July 3 seems to have not healed correctly.

“I know that it’s just a pain tolerance thing,” Trout said last week, as he hoped to manage the injury through the remainder of the season. “Once it gets to a point where it’s bearable, I’ll be out there.”

The Angels’ post-season hopes are all but evaporated, as the team lumbers toward September having lost nine of their last 12 games. They headed into Friday’s matchup with the Mets 11.5 games out of first place in the AL West, and 10.5 games back of the last Wild Card spot.

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