ANAHEIM -- Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani is a man of many tools. Two of them were on full display during a 4-3 loss to the Yankees on Friday night in which he exited with a mild left ankle sprain.He is considered day to day, and he was not in
ANAHEIM -- Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani is a man of many tools. Two of them were on full display during a 4-3 loss to the Yankees on Friday night in which he exited with a mild left ankle sprain.
He is considered day to day, and he was not in the starting lineup for Saturday's game against New York.
After showing off his power with a home run in the second inning, his fourth big fly of the season, Ohtani put his speed on display in the fifth. It may have contributed to his injury.
Ohtani shattered his bat on a ground ball to second baseman Gleyber Torres, then sprinted down the first base line at 29.4 feet per second -- just above 20 mph.
With his blitzing speed, however, he was unable to react properly to first baseman Neil Walker, who leaned slightly into the baseline to nab the throw from Torres. Ohtani put his hand up as if to apologize for creating contact, but it was Walker's foot that was square in the middle of first base, forcing Ohtani to shift to his right and scrape the edge of the bag with his left foot, rolling his ankle.
"You're just trying to find any piece of the bag when you're getting to the bag late like that," Walker told MLB.com. "Unfortunately, part of my body was out over the top of the bag."
That elusive instinct proved costly. Ohtani suffered a mild left ankle sprain on the play, taking him out of the game. He was replaced by pinch-hitter Luis Valbuena during a key situation in the seventh inning -- with runners on first and second with one out and the Angels trailing, 2-1. Valbuena struck out.
Manager Mike Scioscia said that he does not know whether the injury will affect Ohtani's availability as a hitter for Saturday's matchup against countryman Masahiro Tanaka, nor does he know whether it will affect Ohtani's availability for Tuesday's scheduled start on the mound.
"He was limping off the field," Scioscia said. "I don't think you guys saw it, but he was limping off the field."
Ohtani's speed coming into the bag probably had in part to do with his resulting injury. The swiftness at which Ohtani was running, then his sudden change in direction quickly thereafter, left him a small window to accurately find the bag.
According to an American League West scout, Ohtani's speed is a 60 on the 20-80 scale, meaning that he's well above average on the basepaths.
"He glides," that same scout said. "It's just a good looking gait. Big, lean, athletic guy. Eats up ground with long strides."
Ohtani's average speed coming into Friday's game was 28.2 ft/sec, the fastest time for a designated hitter by far, with the Red Sox's J.D. Martinez a distant second at 27 ft/sec. His 29.4 ft/sec dash to first base was tied for his fourth fastest sprint speed of the season.
Ohtani had just two plate appearances on Friday. In his first one, he homered on a Luis Severino fastball -- inside and out of the strike zone -- a scorching hot line drive over both the old and new right field fences. It was his fourth homer of the season.
"I mean, he's good," Severino said. "What can I say, you know? Next time, I won't throw inside to him anymore. He's a good hitter, threw a good pitch right there. I tip my cap to him."
The exit velocity on Ohtani's home run was 112 mph, per Statcast™. Along with his 112.4-mph homer on April 6 against the A's, Ohtani has the Angels' two hardest-hit long balls this season.
It was his first career at-bat against Severino and the New York Yankees. He has now homered off the winner (Corey Kluber) and third-place finisher (Severino) in last season's AL Cy Young Award race.
Ohtani has notched a hit in 10 of his first 11 starts as a designated hitter. He is batting .341/.383/.682, tied for fifth in slugging percentage and good for seventh in OPS (1.089) in the American League (min. 40 at-bats).
Avery Yang is a reporter for MLB.com based in Anaheim.