Tagged in: shohei ohtani

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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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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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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