Shohei Ohtani’s next start for the Angels, a topic of immense interest in recent days, could come Wednesday in Detroit.
The rookie had a light bullpen workout Saturday at Yankee Stadium. Following what has been his normal routine, Ohtani would throw a heavier bullpen session Monday at Comerica Park in Detroit and start two days later against the Tigers.
“We do anticipate, if everything goes well,” manager Mike Scioscia said, “that he’ll be pitching sometime in Detroit.”
Ohtani pitched once a week in his last three starts and five of his seven overall have come on a Sunday.
The Angels pushed back his turn this time to manage his workload as they look toward the balance of the season.
That decision brought rampant speculation that the team was manipulating Ohtani’s schedule so he’d avoid pitching against the Yankees.
The suggested reasons why the Angels would do such a thing ranged from trying to shield Ohtani from the pressures of New York to saving him for a potential wild-card matchup against the Yankees a full four-plus months from now.
For the second consecutive game versus New York, Ohtani did start Saturday as designated hitter. He went hitless but walked with the bases loaded to drive in a run.
The two last played against one another, with Tanaka pitching and Ohtani batting, in 2013, Ohtani’s rookie season in Japan’s Pacific League. He was hitless in 11 at-bats that season against Tanaka.
Impressive debut for Briceno
He walked into Yankee Stadium having never played in a big league game. He left with two baseballs tucked into his backpack, both sealed in plastic baggies as mementos.
It was quite a debut for Angels rookie Jose Briceno, who picked up his first home run and first hit and caught all nine innings in a victory over the team he rooted for as a child.
“I don’t have words to explain how I’m feeling,” the 25-year-old Venezuelan said. “It was outstanding.”
Briceno singled in his second plate appearance and homered in his fourth, a two-run drive against reliever Chasen Shreve.
“Wow,” he said of the home run. “I never thought about that. I just wanted to take a good swing. It just happened. I feel so good about it.”