Ohtani was set to start Thursday against the Oakland Athletics, but the Angels got stuck in a jam heading to the RingCentral Coliseum. A crash on the Bay Bridge halted traffic for one of the Angels’ buses and what was set to be a 45-minute trip to the park from the team hotel turned out to be much longer.
Ohtani was forced to take Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) just to get into the stadium to at least take batting practice. He ended up being the designated hitter in the team’s eventual 5-0 loss.
“That kept pushing him back,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said before the game. “For us, Shohei’s most comfortable, he’s pretty much regimented to get everything going about 4 o’clock for his start. It exceeded that by maybe an hour so we started calling the audible at that point to not pitch him tonight. And if we’re not going to pitch him we’re going to DH him.”
Ohtani had an apparent issue while on the BART. While the public transportation system said in a statement there were no service issues, Maddon claimed: “There was an issue with the transfer on the BART.”
Los Angeles eventually started Patrick Sandoval and kept Ohtani in the lineup as a designated hitter.
Ohtani, who has impressed many with his performances at the plate and on the mound, is set to get the start Friday night.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.