Shohei Ohtani used both hands independently to catch a hot line drive hit back to the mound Wednesday night. He appeared to have such a good time doing so that he quickly apologized to the batter for making too much of a circus of the catch.
Just another fun and memorable moment in a fabulous rebound season for the Angels' two-way superstar.
With one out in the top of the third inning, Austin Meadows hit a 93.8 mph liner back to Ohtani, who reached with his glove but couldn't fully control the hot potato. No worries: Ohtani snatched the levitating ball with his bare right hand for the out, smiling and showing the ball to the umpire to ensure he got credit for the putout.
As momentum carried him toward the first-base line near a disappointed Meadows, who was slowing down after realizing he was out, Ohtani got his attention and said, "I'm sorry" with a smile. Ohtani seemingly did not want to appear like he was showing up Meadows, who seemed to take the play and apology in stride.
Hey. Love means never having to say you're Shohei. Or something like that. Here's another look:
Ohtani's play was a bit reminiscent of what happened two nights earlier when Rays right-hander Tyler Glasnow made an impressive catch on a screaming line drive back to the mound.
Ohtani might have felt a need to put extra into his mound game because the Angels used a DH instead of letting him hit for himself as they (and everyone else, frankly) prefer. On Sunday, he was hit in his padded left elbow with a pitch and, despite later stealing two bases, was sore enough to have his scheduled pitching start for Monday pushed back two days.
His line against the Rays was a little out of whack: Ohtani allowed one hit over five scoreless innings but walked six to go with seven strikeouts. He also threw a wild pitch among his 84 total.
Events haven’t unfolded perfectly for Ohtani this season, but they’re going better than they did in 2020 when he didn’t hit much and was limited to one pitching appearance in the wake of his recovery from Tommy John surgery in October 2018.
Ohtani has more than recovered by now. He’s one of the more skilled and entertaining players in the league, no matter which side of the field he’s on.