Shohei Ohtani's less than spectacular performance this spring doesn't appear to be enough to have him start his North American baseball career in the minor leagues.
Angels general manager Billy Eppler said in December that there were no guarantees Ohtani would start the season with the big club, but the thought of him not landing on the Opening Day roster would have been considered a shock when he signed.
Fast forward three months and things haven't gone so smoothly for Ohtani this spring. There have been consistency issues for the 23-year-old, both at the plate and on the mound. He allowed seven runs while recording just four outs against the Colorado Rockies on Friday, bringing his spring training ERA to 16.20 across 8 1/3 innings against various levels of competition. He's often looked over matched at the plate too, where he's 2-for-20 with seven strikeouts and three walks.
It hasn't been all bad, however. Ohtani has struck out 15 batters and that type of talent is why the Angels coaching staff and front office continues to preach patience with the most highly sought-after free agent from the winter.
"I think Shohei is very close," manager Mike Scioscia said. "I thought you saw the stuff, especially getting out of the first inning (no runs and two strikeouts Friday). There are some things he's very close on."
Ohtani is scheduled to hit Sunday, while the club has not announced when he will pitch next.