Sep 16, 2023, 07:55 AM ET
The two-way superstar missed his 11th consecutive game with an oblique muscle injury Friday night when the Angels lost 11-2 to the Detroit Tigers. Although Ohtani was at the stadium before the game, the soon-to-be free agent’s locker was largely empty afterward.
Nearly all 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 spokesperson 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, which increased after Los Angeles 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 because of a tear in his right elbow ligament, but the Angels had held out hope he could return as a hitter after straining his oblique in batting practice last week.
Ohtani is still the front-runner for his second American League Most Valuable Player 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 AL with 44 homers, and his 1.066 OPS is the second-best in the majors, now trailing Seager.