Shohei Ohtani joined MLB’s 40/20 club on Saturday, but he also sustained an injury that will make his bat and legs the only threats to the Yankees this week.
The Angels’ two-way star was scheduled to start Tuesday’s game in Anaheim on the mound before getting scratched Monday because of lingering soreness in his right wrist after getting hit by a pitch on Saturday, manager Joe Maddon told reporters.
Ohtani was still in the Angels’ lineup Monday for the series opener against the Yankees, serving as their designated hitter.
Jaime Barria will now start Tuesday for the Angels while Ohtani, the overwhelming favorite for AL MVP, is day-to-day as a pitcher.
“It’s remarkable,” Aaron Boone said of Ohtani’s season. “It’s hard to wrap my brain around it, honestly.”
The Yankees had pounced on Ohtani the only other time they faced the right-hander, knocking him out of the game in the first inning on June 30 in The Bronx. He gave up seven runs on two hits and four walks in two-thirds of an inning, the worst outing of his career. But since then he had rebounded by giving up 11 runs over 45 innings while striking out 44 and walking only four, lowering his ERA to 3.00.
Now, the Yankees only have to worry about Ohtani the batter. He entered Monday batting 3-for-15 in three games against them this season and 4-for-26 in his career against them — though all four of those hits were home runs.
The three home runs against the Yankees this season allowed him to notch the 32nd 40/20 season in MLB history over the weekend, when he stole his 20th base to go with his league-leading 41 home runs.
“Every day for the rest of the season, he’s probably going to do something that really stands out,” Maddon told reporters Saturday night. “It’s impressive. Because he’s pitching, too. My God.”
Before stealing second base in the fifth inning Saturday against the Padres — making him the 21st different player to reach the 40/20 club (seven players have accomplished it in multiple seasons) — Ohtani had been hit on the right hand by a 93 mph fastball while going around on a swing, but remained in the game (at designated hitter). A subsequent X-ray came back negative, but he was still experiencing enough soreness Monday to keep him off the mound Tuesday.