Tagged in: Los Angeles Angels

Shohei Ohtani launches 31st home run in victory, tying Hideki Matsui’s record for most in MLB season by a Japanese-born player

Shohei Ohtani hit his major-league-leading 31st homer of the season for the Los Angeles Angels, tying Hideki Matsui’s record for the most homers in a Major League Baseball season by a Japanese-born player.

Ohtani crushed a 459-foot solo shot off Baltimore’s Thomas Eshelman in the third inning Sunday, clearing the ficus trees behind the center-field fence.

Ohtani finished 1-for-4 as the Angels won 6-5. Juan Lagares doubled to deep center in the ninth inning, scoring two runs as Los Angeles rallied past the Orioles.

With his 14th homer in the past 17 games, the Halos’ two-way sensation tied the MLB homer record for Japanese-born players set by Matsui in 2004. Matsui needed 159 matches to hit his 31 homers for the Yankees, while Ohtani has done it in just 81 games for the Angels while also making 12 starts on the mound.

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“I’m really excited to be at the same level with somebody I looked up to since I was young,” Ohtani said through his interpreter. “However, it’s still the first half, so like I’ve said before, I want to continue to build up one hit at a time.”

Ohtani also extended his own major league record for the most homers in a campaign with at least 10 games pitched.

With his 29th and 30th home runs on Friday, Ohtani tied and passed Babe Ruth’s record of 29, set in 1919.

Ohtani passed Mike Trout on Friday for the most homers in Angels history before the All-Star break. He is also the first player in American League history to record 30 homers and 10 stolen bases in his team’s first 81 games of a season.

Ohtani was voted to his first major league All-Star team last week. Ohtani’s next mound start is Tuesday night versus Boston. It will be his final pitching performance before the All-Star Game in Denver.

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Ohtani’s 26th homer starts Angels past reeling Yankees 5-3

Shohei Ohtani pounded his hardest-hit home run of the season in another dismal first inning by Michael King, starting the New York Yankees to yet another distressing loss in a season overflowing with them.

“That definitely sent the message,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said after Los Angeles beat the troubled Yankees 5-3 on Monday night. “It was just the right way for him to start his trip to New York.”

Left-hander José Suarez pitched 5 1/3 innings of one-run relief against the heavily right-handed Yankees after Dylan Bundy threw up on the mound because of heat exhaustion.

Ohtani was 0 for 9 in his previous appearances at Yankee Stadium, all three years ago. The two-way sensation connected for a 117.2 mph drive to right on a hanging curveball from King (0-4) in a two-run first that also included Jared Walsh’s RBI double.

The home run was the ninth in 12 games and 26th this season for Ohtani, who is slated to pitch Wednesday night. He tied Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the major league lead, one ahead of San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr.

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New York, meanwhile, leads the league in is regrouping.

“We just haven’t showed up every night. A lot of spurts of it, but this game, these seasons, this uniform isn’t about spurts. It’s about showing up every night,” said Giancarlo Stanton, who hit his 14th home run in the sixth. “We’re just collectively as a group not performing the way we should.”

Suarez (3-1) entered in the second after Bundy permitted Gio Urshela’s tying home run and Miguel Andújar’s single. With sweat dripping off the bill of his cap, Bundy stepped back off the mound, bent over and vomited on the 90-degree night.

“He told me even after the first inning he did not feel that good but went out in the second and he knew he might get ill and he did. I mean, this guy is as tough as they come,” Maddon said. “He’s fine right now. Everything’s groovy.”

Suarez allowed two hits, struck out five and walked one in his longest big league outing in two years. He kept the Yankees off balance with 22 fastballs, 22 changeups, nine curveballs and three sinkers.

“He is looking like a major league starting pitcher,” Maddon said.

Steve Cishek pitched a one-hit eighth, and Raisel Iglesias struck out the side for his 14th save in 17 chances, helping Los Angeles win its second straight following a five-game skid.

New York lost three matches in Boston last weekend, getting swept for the third time in four weekends, and is on its fourth four-game losing streak this season.

“Our season’s on the line,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said before the game. “Too many ups and downs, and we’re in too good a division to have those ups and downs. We can’t afford to play great for two weeks and struggle for a week — not if we’re going to make up ground. We’ve dug ourselves a little bit of a hole in the division. Obviously, the good news is we still are in complete control of the script.”

New York is in danger of falling out of contention before the All-Star break.

“We can throw out all the sayings. Talk is cheap. We got to go do it,” Boone said after the game.

King has a 15.00 ERA in the first inning of six starts and a 1.88 ERA over the rest of his outings.

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Ohtani, backed by Ward’s slam, leads Angels past Tigers 7-5

Shohei Ohtani yielded five hits and a run over six strong innings, and Taylor Ward hit his first career grand slam in the Los Angeles Angels’ 7-5 triumph over the Detroit Tigers on Thursday night.

Ohtani (3-1) also drew two walks at the plate in another two-way performance for the Angels, who celebrated the Big A’s return to full capacity with 30,709 fans watching their 15th win in 23 matches.

Luis Rengifo and David Fletcher drove in early runs for Los Angeles, and Ward highlighted a five-run seventh by drilling a 418-foot shot to center field for his seventh homer of the season.

Matt Manning (0-1) permitted four hits and two runs over five innings in the touted right-hander’s solid major league debut for Detroit.

Jonathan Schoop homered off Ohtani in the sixth for the Tigers, whose three-game winning streak ended after they rallied too late versus the Angels’ struggling bullpen.

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In the ninth, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. led off with a single and Teoscar Hernández followed with a double to right field. After striking out Randal Grichuk, Chapman fielded a comebacker and started a play in which Sánchez threw out Guerrero, who was trying to retreat to third base. The call was upheld after a 70-second video review.

Ohtani was on again in his 10th mound start of the season, which matches his total during his AL Rookie of the Year campaign in 2018.

The Japanese star struck out five and issued just one walk to the Tigers, who didn’t get a runner to third base until Schoop hit his 12th homer in the sixth.

Los Angeles had a 7-1 lead heading into the eighth, but reliever Mike Mayers permitted  four straight Tigers to reach base and didn’t get an out while giving up three runs.

Raisel Iglesias got the final six outs, but he gave up two run-scoring hits in the eighth and allowed another run on a wild pitch in the ninth before finishing off his 12th save.

The 23-year-old Manning was the ninth overall pick in the 2016 draft out of high school in Sacramento, and the son of a former NBA player progressed steadily through the minors while becoming one of MLB’s top pitching prospects.

His development stalled last season due to the coronavirus pandemic and a forearm strain, and Manning hadn’t been particularly impressive at Triple-A Toledo this season with an 8.07 ERA and 11 homers allowed in his seven starts. But with a rash of pitching injuries and a desire to see what Manning can do at the highest level, the Tigers decided to promote him anyway.

Manning was largely sharp versus the Angels, issuing two walks and striking out three. The Angels’ only extra-base hit against him was by Kean Wong, whose hustle turned an ordinary single into a double in the second and kick-started a three-hit, two-run rally abetted by poor defense from Manning’s teammates.

Rengifo made two big plays in the second inning of his first game back from Triple-A Salt Lake. A few minutes after the second baseman made a spectacular relay throw to get Akil Baddoo trying to stretch a double, Rengifo singled home the Angels’ first run and scored the second on Fletcher’s single.

Chapman then got Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to fly out to end the game.

The ninth-inning drama overshadowed a fine pitching duel between Cole and Stripling.

After the Yankees scored a first-inning run, Stripling set down 18 of 20 batters and allowed no hits until Miguel Andújar singled leading off the seventh, the precursor to Sánchez’s homer, which elicited chants of “Gary! Gary!” from a Yankees-centric crowd of 7,271 at Toronto’s temporary home in western New York.

Cole, meanwhile, retired 22 of his last 25 batters, with the only blemishes being a two-out walk in the second inning, Biggio’s fifth-inning homer, and Hernández reaching on an error in the sixth.

Toronto reliever Rafael Doliz, who substituted Stripling, left the game with an apparent injury after issuing a four-pitch walk.

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Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout doesn’t have timetable for return

Mike Trout says his right calf is starting to feel better, but the Los Angeles Angels superstar still doesn’t know when he will be able to return.

The time-time AL MVP went on the injured list on May 18 after straining his calf the night before versus the Cleveland Indians. The Angels said at the time that Trout would miss six to eight weeks, which would sideline him through the All-Star break.

“Today was probably my best day yet, just tolerance-wise. As far as activities, I’m doing as much as I can to strengthen around the calf muscle,” Trout said before Monday’s game versus the Kansas City Royals.

Trout said he would like to start jogging soon but doesn’t have a timetable on when he would be able to do that, much less resume baseball activities. He said he is walking on a treadmill but not with any intensity.

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“I’m happy with my progress so far. It has been good the last couple of days,” he said. “I should have a better idea on a return date once I start moving around, as in jogging and running.”

At the time of his injury, Trout was leading the majors in on-base percentage (.466) and OPS (1.090), with eight home runs and 18 RBI. His .425 batting average in April was the best of his 11-year career.

Juan Lagares has started in center field in 16 of the 19 games that Trout has missed, with Taylor Ward starting the other three.

Lagares and Ward have combined to go 13 of 70 with no homers and seven RBI in games they have started in center.

Los Angeles is 9-10 since Trout went on the IL. It went into Monday’s game trailing Oakland by seven games in the AL West.

Trout said during home games he usually watches the first couple innings from the dugout before going into the clubhouse to continue his rehab. He also continues to attend hitter’s meetings.

“It seems like there are games where we score a bunch of runs and then the next game it is pretty quiet,” he said. “It’s tough being on the bench. You know, there’s only so much you can do and you want to be out there.”

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Ohtani wins for Angels in 2-way start like none since Ruth

Shohei Ohtani struck out nine after a shaky first inning on the mound, and also scored three runs and drove in two in a start like none since Babe Ruth 100 years earlier, as the Los Angeles Angels defeated the Texas Rangers 9-4 on Monday night.

A day after hitting his seventh homer to tie for the MLB lead, Ohtani (1-0) became the first home run leader to be the starting pitcher for a game since Ruth for the New York Yankees versus Detroit on June 13, 1921. It was the second time this season Ohtani pitched and batted second.

The Japanese right-hander gave up four runs in the first inning before retiring 14 of the last 15 batters he faced, with all of his strikeouts in that span.

After drawing a one-out walk and scoring on Jared Walsh’s single in the Angels first for a 1-0 lead, Ohtani threw 28 pitches in the bottom of that inning, included four walks, a hit batsman and a wild pitch. But the game was tied at 4 in the second after Ohtani hit a two-run double and scored on a single by Mike Trout.

Justin Upton and Albert Pujols put the Angels ahead to stay with back-to-back homers to start the third off Texas starter Jordan Lyles (1-2), who allowed seven runs and 10 hits in 2 2/3 innings. José Iglesias later went deep off Hyeon-Jong Yang, the lefty from South Korea making his big league debut.

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Trout also had an RBI double among his four hits in his return to the lineup to raise his average to .426.

He had missed three games over the weekend in Houston because of a bruised left elbow after getting hit by a pitch in the series opener versus the Astros on Thursday.

Texas went ahead on Nate Lowe’s sixth homer, a three-run shot that gave him an MLB best-matching 21 RBI. David Dahl’s sacrifice fly made it 4-1, the first of the final 15 batters Ohtani faced in his five innings.

In his previous start on the mound, last Tuesday at home versus the Rangers, Ohtani became the first starting pitcher since at least 1901 with four scoreless innings with at least six walks and seven strikeouts. He allowed only one hit in the Angels’ 6-2 victory.

That was his first time on the mound since April 4 after dealing with a blister issue on the middle finger of his throwing hand.

In that first start, Ohtani both smashed a 451-foot homer and pitched two-hit ball into the fifth inning against the Chicago White Sox.

Only seven of his first 23 pitches in Texas were strikes before Ohtani settled in, needing only 47 pitches to get through the his final four innings. He got one last at-bat in the sixth, with a bunt single away from the shift before scoring on a double by Walsh. 

Aaron Slegers then took over on the mound and in the batting order, though he didn’t get an at-bat.

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Clevinger will make Padres debut at Angels

Mike Clevinger will be on the mound Thursday afternoon in Anaheim, Calif., making his debut for the San Diego Padres versus the team that originally drafted him, the Los Angeles Angels.

Clevinger, who was traded from the Cleveland Indians to the Padres in a deadline deal on Monday, will make his second start since he was placed on the restricted list by the Indians for breaking COVID-19 protocols in early August. He missed three weeks, but returned with a solid game Aug. 26, giving up two runs on eight hits and one walk over six innings in a triumph over the Minnesota Twins.

Clevinger, who is 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA in four starts this campaign, is excited about his chance for a fresh start with a new team.

“(The Padres) are the most exciting team in baseball by far right now,” he said. “It’s definitely the place to be. I’m stoked that they wanted me here. It’s a definitely a destination guys want to be.”

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He could not have picked a better opponent than the Angels to impress his new teammates.

In six career starts against them, he is 4-0 with a 2.94 ERA. He’s even better pitching in Anaheim — 2-0 with a 0.79 ERA in two starts (one earned run in 11 1/3 innings).

The Angels drafted Clevinger out of Seminole Community College in Sanford, Fla., in 2011, and he was having a mediocre season playing Class-A ball in 2014 when he was traded to the Indians for middle reliever Vinnie Pestano, who played his last major league game in 2015.

Clevinger, who was 23 at the time, was 4-3 with a 4.31 ERA in 18 combined starts playing for the Burlington (Iowa) Bees and Inland Empire (Calif.) 66ers, while Pestano was a major league reliever the Angels felt they needed to fortify their bullpen for a playoff push.

Now, Clevinger joins a team that hasn’t been to the playoffs in 14 years.

“I know it’s been since 2006, but there’s definitely something brewing here, and it’s going to be special for the coming years, it’s not just this year,” he said.

“I couldn’t be any more excited. This is exactly where I wanted to be. From a distance, this was one of the best organizations around.”

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Rendon homers in debut, Angels rout Mariners 10-2

Anthony Rendon hit a two-run homer and reached base three times in his Angels debut, and Albert Pujols added his 657th career homer in Los Angeles’ 10-2 win over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.

Rendon’s homer to left field in the eighth inning brought home Mike Trout and capped an encouraging home opener for the Angels, who got their second victory after losing three of four in Oakland to start the shortened campaign.

”Whenever you have a game like we just had where the offense is clicking, everyone says that hitting is contagious, and it really is,” Rendon said. ”Once you get that one guy going … it just had that tumbleweed effect tonight.”

The Angels’ new $245 million third baseman went 1 for 3 with two walks, two runs and an error. He sat out the Halos’ season-opening series with an oblique muscle injury, but was ready in Anaheim for his first match since leaving Washington for the West Coast.

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”It felt good to be out there and actually be a contributor for the team,” Rendon said. ”It felt good to get that first one out of the way.”

Max Stassi hit a three-run homer, Shohei Ohtani had a long RBI double and Justin Upton drove in two runs as the Halos won their home opener for only the second time in eight years.

The Angels scored 11 runs over four games at the Coliseum, but nearly matched that total in one night at the Big A.

”It’s kind of a tough way to start it on the road with all the day games in Oakland, so it’s nice to get into your own bed,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. ”In spite of no fans, our guys really played that game as though the place is packed, and I love that. It was nice to put up those runs tonight.”

Pujols’ solo homer to left in the fifth – his first since turning 40 last winter – pulled him within three of Willie Mays (660) for fifth place in baseball history.

Tim Lopes went deep for the Mariners, who lost three of four in Houston to start the season. Lopes went to high school 15 miles from Angel Stadium in Huntington Beach.

Justus Sheffield (0-1) didn’t get an out in the fourth inning of his eighth career start for the Mariners, yielding four hits and four runs.

”Certainly the common theme for us here with our starters is running into that one inning where the pitch count’s getting up there, and tonight was no different,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. ”He was able to get through the third inning and trying to get back out there for the fourth, and he just wasn’t able to get much going there, either. Rough night there.”

Patrick Sandoval pitched four-hit ball into the fifth for the Angels, but the Orange County native couldn’t stick around long enough for his first career triumph. Ryan Buchter (1-0) worked a perfect sixth inning to earn his first win with Los Angeles.

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Shohei Ohtani returning to 2-way role with Los Angeles Angels this season

Shohei Ohtani will resume his two-way career with the Los Angeles Angels when baseball returns.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler confirmed Tuesday that his Japanese star will pitch and hit in the majors this campaign. Ohtani was only a designated hitter last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He wasn’t expected to pitch in 2020 until at least May, and Eppler confirmed that the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t altered the Angels’ plans.

“We’ll probably have a little bit more of a governor on him, at least at the outset,” Eppler said. “He’s had a number of live [throwing sessions against hitters], but we want to up that intensity a little bit more and put him into a game situation. Just watching how he responds on a day-to-day basis will help guide us to how much we can push down on the gas pedal on him. We’re expecting him to be on the mound and stay on the mound and roll through spring training.”

Manager Joe Maddon stated last week that he hoped Ohtani would start roughly once a week on the mound while serving as the Halos’ designated hitter in three to four games between starts. The Angels could have a six-man rotation for the short season.

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Ohtani batted .286 last season with 18 homers and 62 RBIs and an .848 OPS in 106 games.

His production at the plate was nearly identical to his work in 2018, when he was the AL Rookie of the Year while making 10 starts on the mound.

Eppler said none of the Angels’ players are currently intending to opt out of playing in the shortened season. That includes three-time AL MVP Mike Trout, whose wife is due with their first child later this summer.

Eppler confirmed that first-round pick Reid Detmers will be on the Angels’ summer roster as the 56th player, although the left-handed starter hasn’t formally been added.

Eppler also went into details on the Angels’ adherence to health and safety protocols at Angel Stadium and at Blair Field in Long Beach, where the Angels also will hold their summer camp. The Angels have removed communal couches and tables from their clubhouses in a bid to remind their players of the new realities.

“Think of the clubhouse as more of a closet,” said Eppler, who has received positive feedback from his players over their safety steps. “It’s where clothes hang. Absent of anything you need to do in the training room or weight room, get outside.”

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Angels will furlough non-playing employees on June 1

Count the Angels among the businesses that have succumbed to the financial stresses caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

The team will initiate furloughing some non-playing employees in June. The affected group includes members of the player development support staff, minor league coaches and coordinators, and most scouts. All will continue to receive healthcare benefits and have access to a new employee assistance fund, into which the Angels will deposit $1 million for grants.

“We, like businesses throughout the United States, are making difficult decisions to protect our long-term stability,” Angels spokeswoman Marie Garvey said in a statement. The Angels last month pledged to pay their full-time employees through May. So did most of the 30 teams, including the high-revenue Dodgers, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, and World Series champion Washington Nationals.

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But the insecurity surrounding a potential return to play in both the major and minor leagues, combined with two months’ worth of revenue losses caused by the lack of regular season games, has forced teams to reconsider their business model heading into June. The Miami Marlins will furlough 40% of their baseball operations staff.

The Cincinnati Reds declared they would furlough at least 25% of their employees effective June 1.

The Tampa Bay Rays were the first to implement aggressive cost-cutting measures, putting some employees on furlough and cutting the pay of others in late April.

The Seattle Mariners chose to avoid layoffs and furloughs. Starting June 1 and extending through October, the Mariners will cut by at least 20% the salaries of baseball operations and field staff employees who make $60,000 or more a year.

The New York Mets applied similar salary cuts for their non-playing full-time employees — with the stipulation the cuts might be extended if the season is not played. The major point of contention is MLB’s proposal of a 50-50 revenue-sharing plan between players and teams.

Players would be forced to take a larger pay cut than the one they previously agreed to — players and teams decided in March salaries would be prorated.

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Shohei Ohtani fine with Angel´s plan to delay mound return until mid-may

A day after the Angels informed that two-way star Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch in the Majors until mid-May, Ohtani said Wednesday he’s feeling healthy after multiple surgeries and is on board with the plan.

Ohtani, who saw his rehab from Tommy John surgery delayed by left knee surgery in September, finished his throwing program in late December.

He’s throwing again without any issues at Spring Training and will begin the season as the club’s regular designated hitter, but the Angels will be cautious with him and delay his return to the mound.

“I was getting prepared to start on Opening Day but if that’s what the team wants me to do, then I’ll be prepared to delay my debut,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “I don’t see any problems.”

Ohtani, though, can still make rehab starts on the mound in the Minor Leagues without having to be placed on the injured list, which helps his availability as DH.

Major League Baseball also officially informed new rules Wednesday, which indicated that Ohtani will have two-way status in 2020 and will not count among the club’s maximum of 13 pitchers on their 26-man roster.

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Considering Ohtani threw 51 2/3 innings during his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2018 and didn’t pitch in the Majors at all last year, his innings total will be limited and the Angels would rather have him available to pitch late in the season rather than early in the year.

Ohtani is still expected to pitch once a week once he’s cleared to pitch in the big leagues.

“I think first of all, patience is the key word,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “The part about it to me that’s intriguing as we move this forward as he gets well, and as we get later in the year when you get to the August-September playoff situation, that at that point to be able to have him pitch and hit at the same time.”

Ohtani never served as DH in games he pitched with the Angels in 2018 but said it’s something he did regularly while playing in his native Japan.

The Angels would lose the DH in that scenario, as they’d have to replace Ohtani in the order once he left the game as a pitcher.

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