Shohei Ohtani Pulled by Angels after 4 Scoreless Innings with Cramps in Pitching Hand

AP Photo/Ryan Sun
Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani delivers during the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023, in Anaheim, Calif.

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani was pulled from the mound by the Los Angeles Angels after only four innings Thursday night due to cramping in his pitching hand and fingers.

The two-way superstar pitched scoreless three-hit ball with four strikeouts against the Seattle Mariners, and he had thrown only 59 pitches. Ohtani also had problems with cramps during the Angels’ just-completed trip, leaving consecutive games early with lower-body cramping.

Ohtani remained in the game at Angel Stadium as the Halos’ designated hitter.

The start was Ohtani’s shortest of the season, not counting a two-inning outing in Boston caused by a lengthy rain delay. He hadn’t pitched fewer than five innings in any other mound start since August 2022.

After Ohtani walked and advanced to third as the Angels’ designated hitter in the fourth, José Soriano relieved Ohtani on the mound to begin the fifth. Ohtani also singled in his first at-bat against Seattle’s Bryan Woo.

Ohtani struggled with a finger blister and a fingernail problem for a few starts earlier in the season, but those problems appeared to be gone last week when he threw a one-hitter in Detroit for his first major league shutout. He now has thrown 13 consecutive scoreless innings.

Ohtani is the frontrunner for his second AL MVP award after winning his second straight AL Player of the Month award this week.