Shohei Ohtani Says He Doesn’t Plan to Pitch in All-Star Game

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 13, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; American League starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels (17) pitches against the National League during the first inning during the 2021 MLB All Star Game at Coors Field.

SAN DIEGO (AP) — It appears Major League Baseball just lost one of its biggest attractions at the All-Star Game: Shohei Ohtani on the mound.

Ohtani said he doesn’t expect to pitch in next week’s showcase after leaving the Los Angeles Angels’ 8-5 loss to the San Diego Padres with a blister on the middle finger of his right hand Tuesday.

“It’s going to be pretty tough. As of now I’m planning on not pitching,” Ohtani said through an interpreter.

The two-way superstar could still play a significant role if he’s healthy enough to remain the starting designated hitter for the American League next Tuesday in Seattle.

Ohtani exited on the mound against the Padres in the sixth inning. When his spot in the lineup at DH came up in the ninth, he was replaced by a pinch-hitter.

“When I came out of the game I was kind of in the moment, so we will see about going forward the next few days,” Ohtani said. “On the pitching side, I have like nine, 10 days until the next start so hopefully I will heal in time.”

Ohtani was pulled after giving up consecutive home runs to Xander Bogaerts and Jake Cronenworth with none out in the sixth.

The right-hander’s start had been pushed back a day due to a cracked fingernail. His velocity was down Tuesday, and he left trailing 5-1.

“It was hard for me to put full pressure on it,” Ohtani said.

He left his previous start as a pitcher but remained in the game as the DH and homered, giving him 10 strikeouts and two home runs in a 4-2 win against the Chicago White Sox.

“It’s my understanding they put an acrylic nail on there because of where it was cracked and it might have just irritated the skin on the side of the finger,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said. “It felt like he just didn’t have command of his pitches going into the sixth and we talked about it and he felt good and warmed up and he gave me a thumbs up.”

Asked if the blister would hamper Ohtani’s ability to bat, Nevin said: “I don’t think so. It’s just the tip of the middle finger and I think he’s going to be OK.”

Ohtani’s exit came several hours after the Angels learned they’ll be without fellow All-Star slugger Mike Trout for several weeks because of a broken left wrist.

Ohtani became a two-way All-Star for the third straight year when he was picked for the AL pitching staff by players on Sunday, 10 days after fans voted him to start at designated hitter. Also on Sunday, Ohtani and Trout homered in the same game for the 30th time, helping the Angels beat Arizona 5-2.