Rafu Wire Service and Staff Reports

Shohei Ohtani was scratched from the Angels’ starting lineup for Monday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles because of right oblique tightness, the club said.

The two-way star cut short a rare session of on-field batting practice at Angel Stadium after he hit a ball over the fence and then on the next pitch winced when he checked a swing at a low ball.

Shohei Ohtani leaves the mound with an apparent injury during the second inning of a game against the Cincinnati Reds on Aug. 23. (Kyodo News)

The club’s announcement came an hour before the game started. Ohtani was going to bat second.

Ohtani has been limited to designated hitter duties after being diagnosed with a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on Aug. 23.

Also on Monday, Ohtani’s agent Nez Balelo told reporters that his client will need “some kind of procedure” to heal the ligament tear but it might not necessarily be a second Tommy John surgery.

Ohtani had the operation in 2018 and did not pitch in 2019.

Balelo said the earlier surgical repair is intact and the latest tearis in a different location. The agent described the new injury as a “best case scenario,” although there is no such thing as a minor elbow surgery.

Some procedures, including one known as an internal brace, is less invasive than Tommy John surgery, and has a shorter recovery period.

Any surgical repair on the elbow, however, would still involve considerable time away from pitching for Ohtani, possibly for most or all of the 2024 season.

Ohtani and his agent are said to be considering all his options, as he will be a free agent at the conclusion of the season for the Angels, who were 13.5 games behind in the AL West

division and 12.5 games out of the Wild Card race heading into play on Tuesday. Several teams are believed to have strong interest in Ohtani, and any new contract he signs is widely expected to be the most lucrative in baseball history.

“I do know this: No matter what timetable we’re dealing with and when we get this done, Shohei is going to be in somebody’s lineup next year DHing when the bell rings,” Balelo said.

“Longevity is important, because he loves to pitch,” Balelo added. “There’s not a question in his mind that he’s going to come back and he’s going to continue to do both, like we have the last few years.”

• • •

On Monday, Chicago Cubs right fielder Seiya Suzuki set a career high with his 15th home run of the major league season and Masataka Yoshida matched it with the 15th homer of his rookie season for the Boston Red Sox, as the Japanese players helped their respective teams to wins on Monday.

Suzuki drove in the game’s first two runs and finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs in the Cubs’ 5-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field.

The 29-year-old hit a solo home run in the second inning and a run-scoring double in the seventh before driving in another on a fielder’s choice in the eighth.

“I put a good swing on a fat pitch,” Suzuki said of his home run that flew over the center-field wall. The former Hiroshima Carp star hit 14 home runs last year, his first year in the majors.

Cubs left-hander Justin Steele (16-3) allowed just two hits and struck out 12 over eight innings. Right-hander Logan Webb (9-12) of the Giants took the loss.

The Cubs won in the opener of a seven-game home stand against the Giants and the Arizona Diamondbacks, both rivals in the National League playoff race.

“I’m glad we took the first game,” Suzuki said. “I just want to keep playing like this until the end.”

At Tropicana Field, Red Sox left fielder Yoshida hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning, one of his two hits in a 7-3 come-from-behind win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

• • •

On Friday, the St. Louis Cardinals activated outfielder Lars Nootbaar from the injured list as the team began a weekend home series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Nootbaar, who was placed on the IL Aug. 17, batted leadoff and played center.

Heading into play Tuesday, the El Segundo native was batting .279 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI. The Cardinals sit in last place in the NL Central with a record of 59-78.

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