Shohei Ohtani has a lot more downtime on his hands than he planned on at the beginning of the season. A forearm strain means the Angels pitcher likely won’t take the mound the rest of the season, so Ohtani has largely been relegated to his other role as designated hitter.
But Ohtani is keeping busy during batting practice by fielding flyballs and grounders in the outfield.
It doesn’t mean you should expect to see Ohtani playing the outfield during actual games this season; Angels manager Joe Maddon says Ohtani’s arm injury will likely prohibit that.
But Maddon thinks it’ll still be beneficial for Ohtani to work out his body in different ways.
“If you’re a young man like that and all you’re gonna get to do is swing the bat, that’s gonna get kinda boring. I like to see him diversify a little bit,” Maddon said prior to Tuesday’s double header against the Astros. “I think just by moving around like that, practicing like that, is going to help him in the batter’s box.”
But if in a future season Maddon needed to call upon Ohtani in the outfield, he’s impressed by what he’s seen from the third-year player from Japan.
“You can see how well he does with a ground ball in the gap in right-central. He runs, he runs so kinda perfectly and easily, it’s fascinating,” Maddon said. “There’s no immediate plans but like I said he needs to move around, but you’re also seeing that he’s very capable of playing at any outfield position, I think.”
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