Ohtani runs into trouble with traffic, BART

Two-way sensation starts at DH, is slated to pitch Friday

May 28th, 2021

There’s not much that can stop two-way sensation this year, but he learned the hard way on Thursday that sometimes Bay Area traffic can alter plans in a hurry.

Ohtani, who was scheduled to start against the A’s on Thursday at the Coliseum, was on a team bus headed from the team hotel in San Francisco en route to Oakland when an accident occurred on the Bay Bridge. The decision was made to turn back around and take BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to the ballpark instead, but there was an issue with a transfer that caused Ohtani to arrive to the Oakland Coliseum an hour after he had planned.

As a result, the Angels decided to push back Ohtani's start a day to Friday, giving lefty Patrick Sandoval the nod on normal rest instead in the series opener vs. Oakland.

“The bus coming over, I guess there was an accident on the Bay Bridge, which caused Plan B, which meant they had to go back and take BART,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “And I guess there was an issue with the transfer on BART and that kept pushing him back. Shohei is pretty regimented and usually starts everything around 4 o'clock but he exceeded that by maybe an hour, so we started calling the audible to not pitch him tonight."

Ohtani, though, had enough time to get ready to hit, so he was put in the lineup as the club’s designated hitter in the second spot vs. the A's Chris Bassitt. He initially wasn’t in the lineup, as Phil Gosselin was slated to serve as DH, but Ohtani replaced Gosselin and went 0-for-3 with a walk in the Angels' 5-0 loss.

Ohtani, though, isn’t expected to be in the lineup on Friday, as the Angels are trying to give him a bit of a break while on the mound.

“It's just much easier for him to just get ready to go DH today as opposed to attempting to pitch,” Maddon said. “So we just made a decision -- and Sandy's well rested.”

With Ohtani now starting on Friday, right-hander Alex Cobb was pushed back to start on Saturday and lefty José Quintana on Sunday. Right-hander Dylan Bundy was originally scheduled to start Sunday, but he is now likely to start against the Giants on Monday instead.

Ohtani has posted a 2.37 ERA with 45 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings in six starts this season but saw his velocity dip by roughly five mph in his last outing on Wednesday against Cleveland. Ohtani, however, has insisted he’s healthy and has a homer and five RBIs at the plate in his five games at DH since that outing.