Shohei Ohtani thinks he could have pitched Opening Day but is OK with Angels’ plan
Shohei Ohtani will not make his 2020 debut on the hill until well into the season, but he believes that he could have been ready sooner.
Speaking with reporters through his interpreter Wednesday, the Los Angeles Angels star addressed the team’s plans to delay his return to the mound.
“I was getting prepared to start on Opening Day, but if that is what the team wants me to do, then I’ll be prepared to delay my debut,” said Ohtani, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. “I don’t see any problems.
“[I] probably could’ve made it [by Opening Day], but they told me a while ago that I’d be waiting until mid-May, so that’s where my mindset is right now,” he added.
Ohtani’s remarks come just one day after Angels general manager Billy Eppler revealed the team’s target date for his return to pitching. The 25-year-old will open the season on schedule as a designated hitter however.
With Ohtani being roughly 16 months removed from Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow, some extra caution certainly cannot hurt. The former AL Rookie of the Year is obviously a bit more confident in his health than the team is though, and that is probably a good sign at this stage.