Ohtani knows people in high places (literally)

March 24th, 2021

Two-way star not only has been launching balls into orbit this spring, but he had a call from space with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi on Monday.

Ohtani, along with manager Joe Maddon and catcher Max Stassi, had a call with Noguchi, who's in orbit at the International Space Station. Noguchi is in space for the third time, and Maddon was amazed to hear about Noguchi’s experience in space.

“He’s already been up there six months, can you imagine that?” Maddon said. “I can’t imagine being in a confined space for six months and then have even more on your plate. I was really impressed. He was very upbeat. And Shohei was in there talking to him, too."

Ohtani and Noguchi have already met -- on Earth, of course -- as Noguchi was a guest of the Angels at batting practice at Minute Maid Park in Houston on April 23, 2018. Maddon also said Noguchi was an Angels fan because of Ohtani.

“He knew who we were and he’s an Angels fan now,” Maddon said. “He asked about Shohei and the squad. He's a very bright, engaging guy. I just can't imagine orbiting in space and look at your window and maybe he's passing the Indian Ocean or something. It's crazy."

Ohtani has had an incredible spring so far, batting .600 with a team-leading four homers at the plate, including going 1-for-3 with a single and a stolen base in a 6-4 loss to the Rangers on Tuesday. He also pulled double duty on Sunday against the Padres, striking out five over four strong innings, while touching 101.9 mph on the mound, and going 2-for-2 with a walk at the plate.