KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani’s third major league start will be pushed back to Tuesday as the Los Angeles Angels game Sunday at the Kansas City Royals was postponed because of cold temperatures.
After a day off Monday, the Japanese star will pitch Tuesday against the Boston Red Sox when the Angels will open a six-game homestand in Anaheim.
It was 31 degrees with an 18 mph wind, making it feel like 20 degrees on Sunday.
“Just the simple fact that I was going to be pitching in cold weather, that was a little worrisome for me,” Ohtani said through an interpreter.
“Also, I was worried my fingertips might lose the feel for the ball. That was one of the things I was worried (about).”
The game will be made up on June 25 in Kansas City.
“The Royals, Major League Baseball, talked to both parties just to kind of get an understanding of everything that was happening and where we were, and I think they made the right decision, just functionality, in every respect.” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
“I saw snow flurries out there again. Wind chill of 18 degrees. We’ve all played in cold weather. But at some point it crosses a line and I think today definitely crossed a line.”
Ohtani said he has had games postponed in Japan.
“This is not the first time this has happened,” Ohtani said. “I’m kind of used to it. It is what it is, so, I just have to get ready for Tuesday.”
Instead of facing the Royals, who are hitting .231 and rank last in the American League with 39 runs in 13 games, Ohtani will face a potent Red Sox lineup, which entered Sunday leading the American League with a .349 on-base percentage and second with a .445 slugging percentage.
“I was preparing for the Royals lineup,” Ohtani said. “Since it got cancelled, I haven’t had time to look at the Red Sox lineup or the data yet. I’ll get on that after this. I know they have a great team. They’re off to a great start. It’s not going to be easy.”
Royals manager Ned Yost had spent the morning studying Ohtani on video.
“I sat and watched Ohtani all day, probably every pitch he’s thrown all year long,” Yost said.
“I’ve watched all four hits he’s given up. Fastball down in the zone, 96 to 100 miles per hour, a tremendous split. He’s good a good slider. Fastball and split, it’s a deadly combination. You just got to go up and battle. I don’t know if you can have a plan against stuff like that.
“I think if you watch this kid he’s as talented as anybody you’ve seen in a long time. I think he’s just starting to get his feet on the ground now. What we’ve seen from this point is kind of the tip of the iceberg.
“When he gets really comfortable and understands the hype and everything that goes along with it, I think you’ll only see him get better and better.”
Royals rookie left-hander Eric Skoglund, who was scheduled to start Sunday, was pushed back a day and will start Monday in Toronto to open a seven-game trip.