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Shohei Ohtani scratched from pitching start due to traffic tie-up

May 19, 2021; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Bay Area traffic cost Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani a pitching start Thursday.

When one of the Angels’ buses couldn’t make it across the Bay Bridge in time due to a traffic accident, Ohtani and some of the Angels’ traveling party ended up taking a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train to the Oakland Coliseum.

The late arrival at the park prevented Ohtani from having enough time to complete his pre-pitching routine, so he wound up being moved to designated hitter for the game.

“That kept pushing him back,” Angels 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.”

Maddon added, “There was an issue with the transfer on the BART,” but BART denied that it was responsible for any part of Ohtani’s delay.

BART posted on its Twitter feed, “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.”

Ohtani is now scheduled to pitch Thursday at Oakland. The right-handed pitcher is 1-0 with 2.37 ERA with 45 strikeouts and 22 walks in 30 1/3 innings this season. Entering play Thursday night, Ohtani was hitting .270 with 15 homers and 38 RBIs in 456 games.

Left-hander Patrick Sandoval got the last-minute start in place of Ohtani on Thursday and pitched five shutout innings.

–Field Level Media