Angels' Shohei Ohtani 'Fine' After Collision with White Sox's Jose Abreu

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 5, 2021

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani walks off the field during the fifth inning of the team's baseball game against the Chicago White Sox on Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. Ohtani and White Sox's Jose Abreu collided at the plate while Ohtani was covering after a passed ball. Abreu and Adam Eaton both scored. Ohtani left the game. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani exited Sunday's game against the Chicago White Sox after White Sox star Jose Abreu slid into him at home plate, though an Angels spokesperson said Ohtani was "fine" following the collision.

Following a passed ball on a strikeout, Ohtani went to cover home. Adam Eaton scored easily, but Los Angeles had an opportunity to get Abreu. However, David Fletcher's throw was high as Abreu was sliding home.

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

Shohei Ohtani was forced to leave the game after being slid into at home during this fluke play. https://t.co/vMurRAHsgo

The Angels noted Ohtani had "general soreness" and said he didn't exit the game because of an injury-related reason. He had thrown 92 pitches over 4.2 innings while going 1-for-3 with a solo home run out of the 2-spot.

Ohtani told reporters after the game that the collision "wasn't as bad as it looked."

He added: "I feel fine as of now. When the collision happened at home plate, initially, the impact was kind of big, so I didn't really get up right away. But after a time, I feel much better."

The 26-year-old underwent Tommy John surgery in October 2018. As a result, the Angels only used him as a designated hitter for 106 games during the 2019 season. He batted .286 with 18 home runs and 62 RBI, showcasing the offensive value he provides independent of his work on the mound.

The Angels allowed Ohtani to resume pitching duties for 2020 but quickly had to change plans. He surrendered eight walks and seven earned runs over 1.2 innings, and an MRI subsequently showed a grade 1-2 flexor strain.

Manager Joe Maddon confirmed Ohtani wouldn't be toeing the rubber again in 2020. His batting average fell to .190, and he slugged .366 in 44 games.

To some extent, Ohtani has served as a microcosm for the Angels' inability to surround Mike Trout with an adequate supporting cast. Even when they do something that looks right on paper, things have found a way of unraveling.