Shohei Ohtani hit the ball far as fuck yesterday, 443 feet to be exact, deep into the ethers of Angel Stadium’s cavernous rock structure in center field. The looping drive was his first homer since May 17, on account of the Grade 2 UCL sprain that kept him out of the lineup from June 4 to July 3. It was the eventual game-winner, allowing the Angels to beat the Dodgers 4-3 and keep pace with the four teams above them in the AL Wild Card standings.
Ohtani hit that dinger while still dealing with the aforementioned elbow injury and a screwed-up knee. According to Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, the two-way star had fouled a ball off his right knee in the ninth inning of Saturday’s game, which prevented him from starting on Sunday. Ohtani hit his seventh inning tank as a pinch-hitter, his first and only at-bat of the night. He said after the game that the knee was between “75 and 80 percent” healthy, and that he was glad he hit a homer, since he wouldn’t have been able to run the bases well had he been forced.
Ohtani wasn’t even cleared to play at first pitch—it was only during the second inning that he was given the go-ahead by the Angels’ medical staff and, with a righty coming in from the Dodger pen to lead off the seventh, Angels manager Mike Scioscia pulled the trigger on allowing his nicked-up slugger to take a few hacks.
Ohtani worked a 2-2 count, then unleashed on a 96 mph fastball down in the zone. The dude can’t throw a ball or properly run the bases for the foreseeable future, but he can for sure still hit some dingers when his name is called.