Angels general manager Billy Eppler told reporters on Thursday that Shohei Ohtani will not be ready for Opening Day.
Not the biggest shock in the world given that he had Tommy John surgery in October, but it’s not like the rehab for coming back to just hit, as Ohtani will do exclusively in 2019, is as long as it is for pitching. Eppler did not give a timetable for Ohtani’s return to DH duties, but assuming nothing goes wrong, he is expected to hit for most of the year.
Assuming he does, it should be a boon to the Angels’ lineup. The Rookie of the Year posted a batting line of .285/.361/.564 (152 OPS+) with 22 home runs — 13 of them coming in August and September — 61 RBI, 59 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 367 plate appearances in 2018.
Mets starter Zack Wheeler wasn’t content with just dominating the Phillies on the mound Tuesday night in Queens. The 28-year-old decided to have himself a three-RBI night at the plate, too, including his first career home run.
With the Mets already leading 3-0 with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning, Wheeler lifted a first-pitch Zach Eflin fastball out to left-center field, landing well beyond the 370-foot sign on the wall. Wheeler had previously helped his own cause, lacing a two-run double down the right field line off of Eflin in the second inning.
Wheeler entered the night with 22 hits in 194 career trips to the plate. Of his 22 hits, five went for extra bases (all doubles). On the mound, through six innings, Wheeler has held the Phillies scoreless on five hits with no walks and 11 strikeouts.
Todd Frazier broke the game open in the fifth inning, hitting a grand slam off of Drew Anderson to push the Mets’ lead to 8-0. If the Phillies lose tonight, they will have lost five of their last six games.