Where is Shohei Ohtani? MLB fans, reporters, in dark after clubhouse disappearance

Want to see me make $500 million disappear? Shohei Ohtani has gone missing from the Angels clubhouse hours after trying to play in Friday's game. It provokes questions about his future with the Angels.
Sep 2, 2023; Oakland, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17)
Sep 2, 2023; Oakland, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) / D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

Shohei Ohtnai is anything but a typical baseball player, so it's not entirely surprising that the lead-up to his highly-anticipated MLB free agency is also anything but typical. With the final month of the regular season upon us, it remains to be seen if Ohtani will ever play for the Los Angeles Angels again.

That question has become ever-more confusing with recent developments. Ohtani has now also gone missing from the Angels clubhouse, and team officials seem to have no information on his whereabouts or what went into his sudden disappearance.

On Friday, multiple reporters indicated that Ohtani's locker was barren.

Shohei Ohtani's absence supposedly to be explained on Saturday

Here's what Fletcher detailed in his article that night in the Orange County Register:

"After the game, reporters noticed that some of Ohtani’s belongings were packed in a 2023 All-Star Game bag, but many of the shoes, bats and other personal items that have filled his locker throughout the season were gone."

Confusingly, just hours before the news of his empty locker, Ohtani hit the batting cages in Anaheim to see if he would be able to play as DH on Friday, Sep. 15. Ohtani has been out, but still trying to play, since Sep. 4, and he hasn't pitched in some time -- and on that front, has been shut down for the season -- because he has a tear in his UCL.

The news of his cleaned-out locker appeared to catch team employees off guard because Fletcher reports that officials huddled for about half an hour before giving an update to reporters. The update, unfortunately, was not much of an update after all, with the team only indicating they would give more information on Saturday.

Notably Ohtani's teammate Anthony Rendon told the media Friday (after dodging them for weeks) that he has a fractured tibia and isn't sure why the team hasn't reported his injury to the media.

Many questions still need to be answered.

Is Ohtani going to return to Anaheim before the end of the year?

If he does, will Ohtani play again this season?

Will he get Tommy John surgery to repair his UCL, or opt instead for another procedure, such as stem cell infusion or InternalBrace?

Are the Angels officially out as a free agency destination, despite having the most farmiliarity with the two-way superstar?

For now, these questions are all open-ended and without clear answers. Perhaps Saturday will give us more information.

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