• AFP-JIJI, KYODO

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Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani will miss his scheduled pitching start on Friday because of a sore arm, and manager Joe Maddon said he’s not sure if Ohtani will start again this season.

Maddon said the Angels weren’t shutting down Ohtani yet, and hope he’s only experiencing late-season fatigue.

“If he feels great, adamantly, I see nothing wrong with (his pitching again),” Maddon said.

“But if there’s any kind of lingering soreness, you may not see him pitch. I just don’t know that answer yet.”

Maddon said he asked Ohtani about shutting him down for the rest of the season, either as a pitcher or a hitter, where he has slumped with a .147 batting average over the last 20 games.

“He felt he’s still good and he still wants to get after it,” Maddon said. “But I did broach the subject with him.”

Ohtani underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in 2018 after making 10 pitching starts in his first MLB season. He didn’t pitch at all in 2019, and his season as a hitter ended early due to knee surgery. He returned to the mound in 2020, but was eventually shut down because of a right forearm injury.

Ohtani emerged as the best pitcher in the Angels’ starting rotation this season, with a dominant fastball and a stellar array of breaking pitches. In 21 starts, he has a 3.36 ERA, 136 strikeouts and a 9-2 record.

By August he had thrust himself into the American League MVP conversation, connecting on his 40th home run of the season on Aug. 18. The 27-year-old former Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters star became the first left-handed batter in Angels history to reach 40 homers, surpassing Reggie Jackson’s mark of 39 from 1982.

He has added four more homers to his tally since then.

Ohtani was in the lineup for the Angels on Thursday and had a pair of hits in a 9-3 win over the Chicago White Sox in the rubber game of their three-game series.

There was some controversy in the ninth inning when White Sox reliever Mike Wright was ejected after hitting Ohtani in the calf. White Sox manager Tony La Russa was also thrown out after arguing with the umpires.

La Russa told reporters after the game that Wright was not targeting Ohtani, but Maddon insisted he was.

Luis Rengifo and Jose Rojas homered the Angels (72-74), who finished 4-4 on an eight-game road trip.

Angels right-hander Alex Cobb threw five shutout innings in his first appearance since July 23 after sitting out because of right wrist inflammation. Cobb (8-3) allowed two hits, struck out five and walked two.

Jose Abreu drove in two runs to give him 109 RBIs on the season and Luis Robert had two hits and an RBI for the AL Central-leading White Sox (83-63).

Chicago starter Reynaldo Lopez (3-3) allowed seven runs — six earned — and seven hits in four innings. He struck out seven and walked one.

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