Angels superstar Ohtani has the night off against the Mets

Even superstars need a night off every once in a while, even if there’s a national audience watching.

Los Angeles Angels two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani was not in the lineup for Sunday night’s game against the New York Mets. Manager Phil Nevin said before the game that he was approached by the reigning AL MVP during the latter stages of Saturday night’s 11-6 win about not starting.

“I know, he looks like Superman all the time. Even Superman would take a day off from time to time,” Nevin said. “I told him there’s a phone booth nearby and he’s ready to go.”

“This (day off) happens to be a Sunday and it’s on ESPN. I know a lot of people are upset about that. The better Shohei is at the end of the season, we’ll play a lot more games in prime time and a lot of them in October and you’ll be able to watch him play.”

Ohtani is riding an eight-game hitting streak, which is tied for the longest of the season. He has gone 11-for-31 with two home runs and five RBIs during that span and raised his batting average 15 points to .255.

The Japanese two-way feeling seemed to have been shaken briefly after a awkward slip on the plate during the third inning of Saturday’s game. He was limping briefly after catcher Tomás Nido applied the tag at home plate on right fielder Jeff McNeil’s throw.

But Ohtani stayed in the game and hit a two run home run in his next at-bat in the fifth inning.

Nevin, who was named coach for the remainder of the season after Joe Maddon was fired last TuesdayHe said he has had productive conversations with Ohtani over the past week.

After struggling in 2019 with Brad Ausmus, Ohtani blossomed under Maddon, who made it a priority to unleash his talents on both sides of the ball. Maddon worked with Ohtani to determine the proper workload that would allow him to excel as a hitter and pitcher.

Nevin seems like he has the same focus.

Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels hits a two-run home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets on Saturday, June 11, 2022, in Anaheim, California.

“Honestly, it’s up to him. It’s his. He is very good at managing his body and his timing in getting ready to hit and getting ready to pitch. Nobody has done this before, like he does,” Nevin said. “It’s good to give his body a reset and we’ll get back to him on Tuesday.”

With Ohtani having the night off, Mike Trout had a rare start at designated hitter with Tyler Wade in center field.

The Angels have Monday off before facing the Los Angeles Dodgers for two games at Dodger Stadium beginning Tuesday. Ohtani’s next start on the mound is likely to be Friday when the Angels open a three-game series in Seattle. He allowed one run on four hits and struck out six in last Thursday’s victory by 5-2 about the Boston Red Sox.

Ohtani is 4-4 with a 3.64 ERA in 10 starts, striking out 71 in 54 1/3 innings.


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