Shohei Ohtani, Andrelton Simmons injured


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ANAHEIM — The Angels suffered a tough 3-1 loss to the Twins on Monday, but it was the potential loss of designated hitter Shohei Ohtani and shortstop Andrelton Simmons to injury that cast a dark cloud at Angel Stadium.
In a scary eighth inning, the Angels saw both Ohtani and

ANAHEIM — The Angels suffered a tough 3-1 loss to the Twins on Monday, but it was the potential loss of designated hitter Shohei Ohtani and shortstop Andrelton Simmons to injury that cast a dark cloud at Angel Stadium.

In a scary eighth inning, the Angels saw both Ohtani and Simmons suffer injuries in back-to-back at-bats against lefty Taylor Rogers. Ohtani was hit on his right ring finger with a 94-mph fastball while swinging at a third strike from Rogers, while Simmons injured his left ankle at first base while trying to beat out a throw to Rogers on a grounder to first. X-rays were negative for both players, but Simmons has it worse, as he was diagnosed with a left ankle sprain that’s expected to send him to the injured list, while the Angels are hopeful Ohtani’s injury is minor.

Box score

“More concerned right now about Simba’s injury than Shohei’s,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “Shohei’s [injury], by all indications, he should be fine. Quicker time frame. We don’t know what Simba’s time frame is. That’s probably the bigger concern right now. We don’t want to lose either one of them, but it seems like the injury to Simba at this point might be a little bit more dire. But we’ll know more tomorrow. We don’t want to guess as to what the final diagnosis will be.”

Ohtani, who returned as the club’s regular DH on May 7 after undergoing Tommy John surgery on Oct. 1, was looked at by trainer Adam Nevala and Ausmus after being hit on his hand while swinging. Ohtani was still being evaluated postgame and wasn’t available to give an update on his condition, but Ausmus said the initial news is good.

“There’s no break, which is a good sign,” Ausmus said. “We’ll basically just see how he feels tomorrow.”

Simmons followed with a grounder to first baseman Willians Astudillo and tried to beat out the throw ahead of Rogers at first base, but Simmons took an awkward step to the first-base bag, which caused him to roll over his left ankle. Simmons couldn’t put weight on his ankle as he left the field.

“You guys saw the replay. It’s tough,” said center fielder Mike Trout. “The way he plays, he plays hard, 100 percent. You can’t tell him not to. He’s always been doing that, lunging at the bag, trying to get a hit. It was a big situation in the game. If he gets on base there, a two-run homer ties it. So it’s tough, especially if you lose a guy like Simba.”

Both players are key to the Angels this season, as Simmons is generally regarded as the best defensive shortstop in the Majors, while Ohtani is a major part of the lineup with his prodigious power.

“We’ve just got to hope for the best, hope it’s not too serious,” Trout said. “Ohtani’s didn’t look terrible. With Simba, it just kind of deflates you when you see guys go down, especially a guy who’s been having an unbelievable season so far, making unbelievable plays. The reaction said it all.”

The injuries came after reliever Ty Buttrey served up his first homer in the Majors in the top of the eighth inning to Miguel Sanó. Buttrey entered with a career 1.80 ERA in 40 innings, including a 0.76 ERA in 23 2/3 frames this year, but he gave up a go-ahead homer to Sano on a 2-0 fastball that caught too much of the plate. It came after the Angels tied the game on a two-out RBI single from Tommy La Stella in the seventh.

“That was a pretty creepy inning,” Buttrey said. “That escalated very quickly. Ohtani getting hit and Simba going down and me giving up the [homer], you couldn’t have drawn it up any worse than that. But that’s how this game goes. You hate to see it. Hopefully Shohei is good and Simba is good. Those guys are huge parts of our lineup and great teammates. I hope they recover just fine.”

With Simmons out, the Angels are expected to use a combination of David Fletcher and Zack Cozart at shortstop. It’s still unclear if Ohtani will need to be placed on the injured list.

“We’ve got to turn the page tomorrow,” Trout said. “Obviously you can’t change it now. Next guy up. Hopefully it’s not too serious, but whoever comes up, obviously we have Tommy and Fletcher’s been doing unbelievable this year. Next guy mentality, that’s the way we’ve got to look at it.”

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.



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