Shohei Ohtani scratched from start after arrival delayed by traffic

Shohei Ohtani
USA Today
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OAKLAND, Calif. — A traffic jam kept Shohei Ohtani from making it to the ballpark in time for his regular pregame pitching routine, and he was scratched from his scheduled night against the Oakland Athletics and shifted to designated hitter.

Because of an accident on the Bay Bridge that snarled traffic for one of the Angels’ several buses and what had been a 45-minute trip became increasingly longer than planned, Ohtani returned to the hotel and wound up on Bay Area Rapid Transit – BART- and he then fell further behind schedule.

“That kept pushing him back,” manager Joe Maddon said. “For us, Shohei’s most comfortable, he’s pretty much regimented to get everything going about 4 o’clock for his start. It exceeded that by maybe an hour so we started calling the audible at that point to not pitch him tonight. And if we’re not going to pitch him we’re going to DH him.”

Catcher Kurt Suzuki, a former Oakland fan favorite, was on the same bus and scratched along with Ohtani and Suzuki will catch the right-hander Friday night.

BART said on Twitter it had no problems with any trains at that time Thursday: “First, wow, what an honor to host a baseball superstar like Shohei Ohtani on BART. We did not experience any issues on our end. We confirmed with Operations Control Center there was no delay for any Coliseum-heading train during the Bay Bridge incident.”

Maddon stayed in contact with Ohtani’s interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, and when “there was an issue with the transfer on the BART” ultimately went with well-rested lefty Patrick Sanodval on the mound in place of Ohtani. The Japanese two-way star was in the lineup batting second against the A’s.

Ohtani (1-0, 2.37 ERA) was rescheduled to start Friday night.

“So that’s all it is, it was just a transportation issue more than anything,” Maddon said. “It’s just unavoidable.”

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.