April 28, 2018 / 6:05 PM / 6 months ago

Ohtani misses Tanaka showdown, likely to return soon

(Reuters) - Injured Japanese two-way standout Shohei Ohtani missed a much- anticipated showdown with compatriot Masahiro Tanaka and the New York Yankees due to an ankle sprain on Saturday, but is not expected to miss extended time, the Los Angeles Angels said.

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 suffered the injury while base running in a loss to the Yankees on Friday, forcing his absence in the Angels’ 11-1 defeat to the Yankees on Saturday.

“He’s a little bit sore, but I think it’s something that will be manageable,” manager Mike Scioscia said before the game.

“We’re going to evaluate it on a daily basis just to see what he can do. His status is day-to-day, which means right now, we’re not considering the DL.”

Ohtani is scheduled to pitch next against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday.

“I feel like I’ll be fine to make my next start,” Ohtani told reporters through his interpreter. “But ultimately the decision’s not up to me; it’s up to the medical staff, the front office, and the coaches. So I’m just going to take it day-by-day.”

Albert Pujols replaced Ohtani as the Angels’ designated hitter on Saturday as the team lost a third straight.

“When we have five, six, seven guys swinging to their capabilities, obviously (Ohtani’s injury) is mitigated,” Scioscia said.

“When you have some guys who are struggling and your lineup is a little shallow, it’s a big piece.”

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

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

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina and Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Ian Ransom

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