September 28, 2022


Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Shohei Ohtani ends spring training with blister on throwing hand

Shohei Ohtani’s storybook spring training ended in nightmarish fashion Monday at Dodger Stadium.

After dazzling in his return to a full-time two-way role in Cactus League play this month, Ohtani struggled mightily in his final start as a pitcher against the Dodgers, failing to locate his fastball and surrendering three home runs. Then it got worse.

Ohtani exited the game in the third inning alongside a trainer with a blister on his right throwing hand. General manager Perry Minasian said the team believes it was caught early. He didn’t immediately have an update on Ohtani’s status going forward. Ohtani’s first regular-season outing is scheduled to be Sunday against the Chicago White Sox.

Ohtani said he developed the blister during his previous pitching outing on March 21 and was actually happy it peeled off Monday, which he hopes will give him enough time to let it recover and still make his start against the White Sox as scheduled this weekend.

In his 2⅓ innings Monday, Ohtani gave up seven runs, four hits and five walks with three strikeouts. Of his 63 pitches, only 31 found the strike zone. And in his one at-bat as a hitter, he struck out looking.

Ohtani’s command had been occasionally spotty in previous outings this spring, but on Monday it was off from the start. He walked three batters and gave up a run on a bases-loaded wild pitch in the first inning, at times looking visibly frustrated after missing the zone with 15 of his first 26 pitches.

In the second inning, he gave up two home runs: a hanging two-strike slider that Chris Taylor belted for a two-run blast, then a 3-and-0 fastball that Corey Seager crushed the other way.

The Angels staff walk to the mound to check on pitcher Shohei Ohtani after giving up a three-run home run to the Dodgers during the Freeway Series at Dodger Stadium on Monday. Ohtani came out of the game.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The third inning wasn’t much better. With one out, Ohtani walked AJ Pollock. Then Max Muncy hit a single back up the middle that whizzed by Ohtani’s head. Three pitches later, Will Smith drove a three-run home run the other way.

During the at-bat with Smith, Ohtani was inspecting his fingers between pitches. He rubbed his hand on his jersey several times. He fidgeted with the baseball.

By the time Smith was done rounding the bases, manager Joe Maddon had walked out to the mound with a trainer and Ohtani’s translator. They spent several minutes examining Ohtani’s hand, conversing throughout. Then, Ohtani walked off the mound, getting a pat on the back from catcher Kurt Suzuki before disappearing down the dugout tunnel.