Injured Ohtani won’t start against countryman Tanaka

(Reuters) – Injured Japanese two-way standout Shohei Ohtani will not be in the starting lineup when the Los Angeles Angels face compatriot Masahiro Tanaka and the New York Yankees on Saturday, the Angels said on their website.

Apr 24, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) delivers a pitch during the second inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Ohtani suffered a mild left ankle sprain while base running in a loss to the Yankees on Friday and had been listed as day-to-day for the night game in California.

Albert Pujols will replace Ohtani as the Angels’ designated hitter, according to the lineup.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia had said on Friday he did not know whether the injury would keep Ohtani from playing in the highly anticipated match-up against pitcher Tanaka.

“I don’t think you guys saw it, but he was limping off the field,” Scioscia told reporters.

Apr 27, 2018; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) breaks his bat and is thrown out at first base in the fourth inning of the game against the New York Yankees at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Ohtani, who is drawing comparisons to the legendary Babe Ruth for his hitting and pitching ability, hit his fourth home run of the season on Friday. However, he rolled his ankle in the fifth inning while trying to tag first base on a broken-bat grounder and left the game.

With the home run, the 23-year-old did something Ruth never did, becoming only the fourth major league player since baseball’s modern era (1900) to record 25-plus strikeouts while pitching and four or more home runs as a batter in a month, according to Stats By STATS.

He joined Wes Ferrell (1935), Don Drysdale (1959) and Fergie Jenkins (1971).

Ohtani is batting .341 with 12 runs batted in as the Angels’ designated hitter and has a 2-1 record as a pitcher.

He is next scheduled to pitch on Tuesday.

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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