Ohtani 'feels fine' after scary freak play

April 5th, 2021

ANAHEIM -- A wild series of events led to Angels two-way star landing awkwardly at the plate on top of White Sox first baseman José Abreu on Sunday night in a game the Halos would go on to win, 7-4, keyed by a pair of homers from Jared Walsh, including a walk-off three-run shot in the ninth.

But fortunately for Ohtani, who left the game after the play, he was diagnosed with general soreness and is considered day to day. Angels manager Joe Maddon also clarified that Ohtani would’ve left the game even if the play at home hadn't occurred, as he had already thrown 92 pitches. Ohtani was on a pitch-count limit of 80-90 pitches in his first start of the year.

“I feel fine as of now,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “When the collision happened at home plate, the impact was kinda big. I couldn’t get up right away. After time, I’m feeling better.”

With Yoán Moncada at the plate and Ohtani looking like he was nearing the end of his outing -- Maddon did not pull his two-way star ahead of facing reigning AL MVP Award winner Abreu, nor did he pull him after Ohtani issued a walk to the slugger -- but with one more out to tally to end the inning, chaos broke out right as the right-hander appeared to escape a jam. 

Ohtani threw a pitch that got by catcher Max Stassi, but Moncada swung at it for a third strike and hustled to first base on the dropped third strike rule. Stassi collected the passed ball and attempted to whip a throw to first but was off target, allowing Moncada to reach and Adam Eaton to score.

Then, David Fletcher's throw back to Ohtani, who was covering home plate in an attempt to nab Abreu on his way in to score the tying run, was also off target, and the pitcher was forced to stretch on his toes to try (and fail) to corral the ball. The timing resulted in a scary situation for the Angels, as Abreu happened to slide into Ohtani's ankles and completely knock him over. In apparent pain, Ohtani hit the dirt, but he was eventually able to walk off the field under his own power.

“I can't really pinpoint where he exactly hit me but he took my legs out basically,” Ohtani said. “I'm guessing it's somewhere around my calf. When I landed on him, he was kind of he was like a cushion for me. So the impact wasn't as bad as it looked.”

The Angels got out of the inning without further damage, as Steve Cishek replaced Ohtani and induced a groundout from Yermín Mercedes.

Maddon was pleased to see that Ohtani was fine after the play but said he won’t be in the lineup as the DH in the series opener against the Astros on Monday after playing in all four games of the series as DH and pitching on Sunday.

"I think what he did today and that's four in a row and then double-duty tonight, I'm definitely gonna pass on him tomorrow," Maddon said. "But I think he'd available to pinch-hit."