In Shohei Ohtani, the Angels have a player unlike one ever seen in modern baseball. As a right-handed pitcher, he throws a 100 mph fastball. As a left-handed batter, he hit 48 home runs with 166 RBIs during his five seasons in the Japan Pacific League. Here’s a timeline of his first season in the major leagues. ( Updated regularly .)
Shohei Ohtani did a lot Friday. He went 4 for 5 with a pair of home runs as he led the Angels to a 7-4 victory over the AL Central-leading Indians.
The homers were his first on the road in his career (his previous nine were all hit at Angel Stadium). It was also his first career multi-home run game
Ohtani is now batting .272 with 11 home runs and 28 RBIs for the season.
Shohei Ohtani went deep for the second time since his return from the disabled list, and it was a patented Ohtani-san big fly: at home, and to the deepest part of Angel Stadium. All eight of Ohtani’s dingers this season have been hit at the Big A.
Shohei Ohtani, back in the Angels’ lineup as a DH, squared off against countryman Kenta Maeda during a Friday night Freeway Series game between the Halos and Dodgers in sizzling Anaheim. Maeda came out on top; he struck out Ohtani in the second and got him to pop out in the fifth.
Punched him out. #マエケン pic.twitter.com/YhzbQKisAZ
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 7, 2018
Ohtani got his revenge against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen in the ninth. With his team down a run, he walked after being behind in the count 0-2, stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error by LA catcher Yasmani Grandal, and scored the tying run on a single by David Fletcher.
Fletcher scored the winning run later in the inning on a throwing error by Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig.
Shohei Ohtani has been cleared to begin a hitting program after an MRI revealed improvement in his injured elbow.
According to the New York Post, Angels general manager Billy Eppler said the two-way player will be evaluated again in three weeks and the team will determine the next step of his recovery at that time.
Ohtani was placed on the disabled list with a UCL sprain June 8. It was rumored he could undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the remainder of the 2018 season as well as the entire 2019 season, though Eppler refuted the report and has since stood by his statement.
“No doctor has told me that Shohei needs surgical intervention at this time,” Eppler told reporters Thursday, via USA Today.
Ohtani has dealt with UCL issues for the last two years and had a platelet-rich plasma injection on his right elbow in October. He underwent another platelet-rich plasma and stem cell injection earlier this month.
“If he was solely a DH, he would have been cleared right away,” Eppler said Wednesday on MLB Network Radio, “but because you are wanting that ligament to heal, to get that impact he brings on the mound, you want to – I don’t want to coin it the danger zone – but you want to get to the point where you are feeling that area has plenty of time to scar and heal. That’s what the three-week prescription is for, to buy you that time of scarring and healing.”
Ohtani, 23, has registered a 4-1 record with a 3.10 ERA in nine starts on the mound this season. He has also slashed .289/.372/.535 with six homers and 20 RBIs at the plate.
Shohei Ohtani was pitching in rainy Detroit, not sunny Southern California, on Wednesday, but that didn’t prevent the right-hander from bringing the heat. Ohtani threw the hardest fastball by a major league starting pitcher so far this season, a 101.1 mph delivery to Jeimer Candelario that resulted in a weak comebacker to the side of the mound. Ohtani allowed one run and three hits over five rain-interrupted innings, but he didn’t factor into the decision as the Angels lost 6-1.
Day 1 of Shohei Ohtani’s first visit to Yankee Stadium was eventful. The rookie was in the lineup as the DH for the Angels’ series opener vs. the Yankees, one day after it was announced he would not pitch in the series finale Sunday against countryman Masahiro Tanaka.
A Bronx tale, then, in four acts:
Act 1: Ohtani gets booed his first time up. Yankees fans still haven’t forgiven him for choosing the Halos (and the West Coast) over the Bombers.
Act 2: Ohtani strikes out looking against Luis Severino that first time up.
Act 3: Ohtani meets fellow rookie phenom Gleyber Torres, who says the meeting (pictured) was “nice.”
Act 4: Ohtani, representing the go-ahead run, grounds out against Aroldis Chapman to end the top of the eighth, but not before hitting a foul home run to left field.
Ohtani v Chapman (strikes). #Yankees pic.twitter.com/zTEHqSuqEC
— Max Wildstein (@MaxWildstein) May 26, 2018
LA lost 2-1. Ohtani has two more days to quiet the fans.
Shohei Ohtani gave Angels fans something to cheer on an otherwise dismal night. The rookie homered in the ninth inning to break up a shutout bid by the Rays. The big fly was Ohtani’s sixth of the season; Angels TV play-by-play man Victor Rojas noted that all of those dingers have been at Angel Stadium.
Ohtani was serving as the Angels’ designated hitter for a third consecutive game.
Shohei Ohtani had a rough go of it in his first matchup with Justin Verlander. Ohtani struck out three times in four at-bats; strikeout No. 3 represented Verlander’s 2,500 career punchout.
It was also the first out of the ninth inning as Verlander completed a 2-0 shutout. MLB.com reported that Verlander studied video of Ohtani hitting for 15 minutes prior to the game. The prep work paid off for the Astros’ ace.
Shohei Ohtani reached a personal milestone at the plate Tuesday, two days after he made history on the mound: He batted second for the first time as an Angel. He went 1 for 4 with a strikeout in LA’s loss to Houston. He struck out and popped out against Astros starter Gerrit Cole his first two times up, then singled to right field against Cole in the fifth. He grounded out in the eighth against reliever Will Harris. Ohtani is now batting .342 with 1.015 OPS in 21 games as a hitter.
The newest Japanese star to reach the major leagues spent a few minutes with the man who helped pave the way for him.
Shohei Ohtani spoke with Ichiro Suzuki before the Angels-Mariners game in Seattle, although Ichiro decided to have some fun first.
“Did I want the player I’ve looked up to to watch me? I wanted him to see me doing well.”
“I felt like an elementary schoolboy at a baseball clinic, who is just so excited to show what he can do.”
You did well in front of your ⚾hero Shohei!#大谷翔平 #Ohtani #鈴木一朗 #Ichiro pic.twitter.com/Km0Ya9xBG2
— Ohtani Shohei 17 👼 二刀流 (@deepredthread) May 5, 2018
Ichiro spoke in spring training about wanting to hit against Ohtani, and Ohtani is scheduled to start against the Mariners on Sunday, but Ichiro will not be active for the game. He is now a member of the M’s front office after being taken off the active roster on May 3.
Shohei Ohtani’s two-way play during March and April earned him American League Rookie of the Month honors from Major League Baseball. The 23-year-old starting pitcher/DH batted .341/.383/.682 with four home runs in 47 plate appearances through April 30 and made four mostly effective starts on the mound (2-1 record, 4.43 ERA, 26 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings).
Angels rookie pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani is listed as day to day after suffering a left ankle sprain during his team’s game Friday vs. the Yankees.
The Angels announced the injury after Ohtani was removed for pinch hitter Luis Valbuena in the bottom of the seventh inning.
MLB.com reported Ohtani was hurt while trying to beat out a ground ball in the fifth inning.
FAGAN: Ohtani’s time is here
The 23-year-old two-way player homered his first time up, a solo shot in the second off Yankees ace Luis Severino.
Ohtani has been impressive during his first month in the major leagues. He was batting .341 with four home runs at the time of his removal Friday; as a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher, he sports a 2-1 record and a 4.43 ERA in four starts.
It seems possible the injury will affect Ohtani’s mound schedule. He is slated to pitch Tuesday, May 1, at home vs. the Orioles.
Ohtani showed no ill effects from the finger blister that forced him to leave his previous start after two innings as he worked against the reigning world champs. The threw a handful of fastballs 100 or 101 mph and struck out seven over 5 1/3 innings. He also issued five walks and six hits, and he was charged with four runs (all earned) after reliever Jose Ramirez allowed an inherited runner to score. Ohtani’s five walks were one more than the four he issued in his first three starts combined.
Making his first appearance in the cleanup spot, Shohei Ohtani went 1-for-4 in a 4-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants.
His lone hit was a single in the sixth that loaded the bases. Prior to that he struck out twice and in the eighth he grounded out. The two-way phenom is now hitting .342 with 11 RBI and three homers across 38 at-bats.
His next pitching outing is scheduled for April 24 against the Astros. To get ready for that one, he threw 37 pitches Sunday in a warmup before the game against the Giants.
By Bill Bender
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani bounced back from his first three-strikeout game with two hits against the Giants on Friday.
Ohtani finished 2 for 4 at the plate, but Los Angeles lost to San Francisco 8-1 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Ohtani now has four multihit games for the Angels.
“There wasn’t much difference (on my approach) compared to yesterday,” Ohtani said through an interpreter. “I feel that I was able to match up with each pitcher. Even the at-bats where I was out, it’s pretty clear why I was out. I hope that I can use that to improve myself.”
The two-way sensation got back on track after a tough week on the mound and at the plate. He left Tuesday’s start against the Red Sox after just two innings with a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand; an outing in which he allowed three runs on four hits and two walks. Ohtani then endured his first 0-for-4 performance, which included the three strikeouts, in an 8-2 loss to Boston on Thursday.
In the second inning of Friday’s game, Ohtani faced a 1-2 count in his first at-bat when he roped a single over second base off Giants starter Jeff Samardzija. He flew out to left field in each of his next two at-bats, then hit a first-pitch single to right in the ninth inning.
Ohtani now has a hit in eight of nine starts as a designated hitter. In 10 appearances as a hitter, he is 13 for 38 (.342) with three homers and 11 RBIs. It’s an encouraging start for the 23-year-old, who is also 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 15 innings.
Ohtani threw a light bullpen session Friday and appears in line to make his next pitching start against Houston on April 24, but no official announcement has been made.
The Angels dropped their fourth straight game on the homestand and fell to 13-7 with the loss.
By Thomas Lott
Shohei Ohtani didn’t have it Tuesday.
In the rookie’s third career start, and his first matchup vs. the first-place Red Sox, the 23-year-old two-way player lasted just two innings and allowed three runs while walking two. The Angels later announced Ohtani was removed after developing a blister on his pitching hand during the second inning.
Things went wrong for Ohtani from the first batter (Mookie Betts, who led off with the first of his three home runs Tuesday) on.
There was always the question of whether Ohtani’s poor performance in spring training was something to be ignored. After two dominant starts against the A’s, Tuesday’s outing looked an awful lot like his work in Arizona. His slider wasn’t breaking, his splitter wasn’t there and his fastball had a lot of horizontal movement but very little vertical movement.
Shohei Ohtani earned a promotion in Mike Scioscia’s batting order with his early hot hitting, moving up one spot from eighth to seventh. He responded to the move with two more hits, including his first major-league double, in LA’s 5-4 victory at Kansas City on Friday. Ohtani also scored the eventual game-winning run after singling in the eighth inning.
Ohtani raised his average to .367 (11 for 30) and his OPS to 1.191 with his 2-for-4 performance.
Ohtani took a perfect game into the seventh inning of his first start at Angel Stadium as a pitcher. He lost the perfect game but earned his second victory by throwing seven shutout innings, amassing 12 strikeouts and allowing just one walk and one hit in a 6-1 win over the A’s.
FOSTER: Ohtani is the real deal; let’s declare it
“That’s as good a game as you’re ever going to see pitched,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “To pitch as well as he did through seven innings is not easy. They’ve scored a lot of runs off us this year. But he’s got great stuff and he made some terrific pitches.”
Shohei Ohtani is now an early two-way success in the major leagues.
The Angels rookie pitcher/DH hit his first major league home run Tuesday night, a three-run shot to right-center field in the first inning against Indians starter Josh Tomlin.
Ohtani had come up with the bases loaded, but a wild pitch by Tomlin brought in a run. Ohtani capped the at-bat, his first in his home park, Angel Stadium, with a 397-foot big fly.
The dinger came two days after Ohtani turned in a quality start (six innings, three earned runs) and earned the win in his big-league pitching debut, vs. the A’s in Oakland. This is his second start as a DH; he was 1 for 5 on Thursday in the Angels’ season opener.
The Angels signed Ohtani last December for just this purpose: to produce at the plate and on the mound.
Shohei Ohtani, the most celebrated hitter/pitcher in baseball since Babe Ruth, had mixed results in his first MLB regular season game Sunday in Oakland.
The 23-year-old former Japanese star got the start for the Angels against the A’s. He went six innings, allowed three runs on three hits with six strikeouts before manager Mike Sciosia pulled him with a 4-3 lead.
The eyes of the baseball world were watching Ohtani to see how he adjusts to the American game. Ohtani hit 100 mph in a perfect first MLB inning and stymied bats across his 92-pitch outing with his high-80s slider and splitter.
Ohtani’s biggest mistake of the day came on an 82 mph slider to Matt Chapman, who blasted the pitch 387 feet over the wall in left field.
Matt Chapman says, “Welcome to The Show.” pic.twitter.com/IVNazlT1WW
— MLB (@MLB) April 1, 2018
While Ohtani retired 14 of his last 15 batters after allowing the three-run homer, he did struggle a bit with his location. His first pitch was a ball to six of eight batters he faced after getting out of the three-run second inning. Ohtani missed his spot to catcher Martin Maldonado multiple times with his breaking pitches but the A’s failed to take advantage, walking just one time.
All in all, Angels brass had to be pleased with Ohtani’s debut after a disappointing spring training in which he compiled a 27.00 ERA in two Cactus League starts while going 4 for 32 with three walks and 10 strikeouts at the plate.
With his outing Sunday, Ohtani became the second pitcher in Angels history (first since 1965) to throw at least six innings and record more strikeouts than baserunners allowed in his debut. He earned the win in the 7-4 Angles victory.
Shohei Ohtani threw 39 fastballs today. The average velocity: 97.8 mph. Hit 100 three times and 99 nine more. In all, he generated 18 swings and misses. Raw stuff is devastating. Particularly the splitter, which he threw 11 times in the final two IP, with five swings and misses.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 1, 2018
Ohtani, who went 1 for 5 at the plate Thursday, became the first MLB player to start as a non-pitcher on opening day and then start as a pitcher within his team’s first 10 games since Babe Ruth (Red Sox, 1919).
Shohei Ohtani made his major-league debut Thursday, serving as the Angels’ designated hitter in their 6-5, 11-inning loss to the A’s in Oakland. The left-handed-hitting Ohtani went 1 for 5, collecting a single off Kendall Graveman on the first pitch he saw in his career.
“That’s probably an at-bat I’m not going to forget for the rest of my life,” Ohtani told reporters through an interpreter, per the Orange County Register.
Ohtani’s DH turn was the launch of LA’s plan to use him as a regular two-way contributor. He will make his pitching debut Sunday in the series finale.
MORE: Success in Majors a matter of timing for Ohtani
Shohei Ohtani’s first week in the major leagues will include his first appearance on the mound.
Ohtani will start for the Angels against the A’s in Oakland on Sunday, LA manager Mike Scioscia told reporters (per MLB.com) Tuesday after the Angels’ exhibition at Dodger Stadium vs. the Dodgers.
A Sunday start means Ohtani will be the No. 4 starter in the Angels’ six-man rotation to begin the season, behind Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs and Matt Shoemaker.
Scioscia’s announcement coincided with official word that Ohtani had made the club out of spring training. The Angels added him to their 40-man roster ahead of Thursday’s opener. He was in training camp on a minor league contract he signed in December.
His spring struggles on the mound led to speculation he might begin the season in the minors.
As for when the two-way threat Ohtani might see action as a designated hitter, Scioscia was less definitive.
“We haven’t determined our lineup yet, but he will start (on the mound) Sunday,” he said, per MLB.com.
According to USA Today, Shohei Ohtani is on track to make the 25-man roster, and will start at designated hitter Opening Day for the Angels.
The Japanese superstar who is considered the favorite by many to win the American League Rookie of the Year has played far from that level in spring training, batting .107 with three hits in 28 at-bats and allowing eight earned runs in 2 2/3 innings pitched (27.00 ERA).
His teammates and coaches though are far from panicked and Mike Trout is downright excited to see what he can do.
“It’s going to be a pretty crazy year for sure,’’ the two-time MVP told USA Today Sports. “He just gives off these great vibes. I know it’s going to be tough on him doing both things, but I think he’s going to wow us. Really, I think he’ll wow everyone.”
As much as Angels and Shohei Ohtani fans may have the urge to panic, now is not the time to freak out.
Yes, Ohtani struggled for his second straight outing Friday, giving up seven runs and two home runs in 1 1/3 innings pitched, but there is plenty to take from his performance and more than one thing he can improve upon.
We will start with something so important it has to be said three times.
1. Location, Location, Location
Ohtani’s entire start came down to location. Simply put, he could not locate in the second inning and it bit him. His first pitch was a ball to seven of the first eight batters he faced, and he allowed the first seven batters to reach base in the second inning. The 22-year-old struggled to locate to his glove side.
When he missed, he often saw his fastball run away to his arm side. Ian Desmond homered to lead off the second on a pitch that was supposed to be on the outside corner and leaked over the middle of the plate. Then Ohtani missed with another fastball and hit Chris Iannetta. To succeed in MLB, a right-handed pitcher must be able to locate pitches at the knees and on the outside corner to a right-handed batter. Ohtani didn’t do that Friday.
2. Breaking pitches were inconsistent
Ohtani flashed a great curveball Friday, but he threw just one of them in one of Gerardo Parra’s at-bats. His slider showed some flashes in the first inning, but that pitch did not initially break nearly as much as it did for Ohtani in Japan.
This is where the adjustments come in. Ohtani can fix these issues with his breaking pitches simply by throwing the MLB baseball more. Once he learns the seams of the ball better he will be able to break off the pitches he used to. For now, he does not have that feel, and he is throwing spinners as a result. One positive is that’s not affecting his velocity, as he was throwing his fastball 96-98 mph on Friday.
3. A little bit of bloomin’ luck
The Rockies hit the ball hard Friday, make no mistake about that. Desmond’s home run went out of the stadium and Nolan Arenado’s was also a no-doubter, but the Rockies did hit a couple of Texas Leaguers and had some seeing-eye singles that extended the second inning.
Ohtani did get hit hard, but he had some bad luck, too, and that should not go unnoticed.
With the season opener less than three weeks away, Shohei Ohtani believes he is rounding into form, despite a shaky start against the Tijuana Toros of the Mexican League on Friday.
The 23-year-old, two way player gave up six runs over three innings, allowing five hits and walking one. He also struck out six in the B game. Across three starts in his rookie season with the Angels, he has given up 10 runs and struck out 16.
“At this point, I feel like I’m taking the right steps forward,” told the Orange County Register. “Over the last few years, I’ve gotten where I need to be. I think I’ll be ready.”
Shohei Ohtani is not going to be able to be a two-way player in MLB this season, at least not an effective one. That according to eight scouts who talked to Yahoo Sports this week.
The problem for the 23-year-old player lies in faulty mechanics and a lack of exposure to good MLB curveballs. Not breaking pitches, but curveballs specifically. The weapon of choice in Japan is the split-fingered fastball which is essentially a change-up, albeit one with much sharper movement.
“He’s basically like a high school hitter because he’s never seen a good curveball,” one scout told Yahoo. “He’s seen fastballs and changeups. And you’re asking a high school hitter to jump to the major leagues?”
What exacerbates the problem for Ohtani, though, is he has to cheat on inside fastballs. He has to get started early to turn on the pitch, and the issue with that is it leaves him susceptible to curveballs, especially from left-handers as was shown in his strikeout against Clayton Kershaw earlier this week.
Hey Ohtani, welcome to the MLB courtesy of Clayton Kershaw. pic.twitter.com/4SK3VTuZ3G
— LA Dodgers HQ (@LADodgersHQ) March 7, 2018
Ohtani truly needs time to adjust to MLB-level pitching. He has seen some good pitchers in Japan, but if Miles Mikolas’ transition back into baseball in America is any indication, the level of the hurlers is not up to par with those Ohtani will face this coming season.
The problem is the Angels just don’t have time to wait, and he simply can’t learn on the fly.
“You don’t learn on the job in the major leagues,” a scout said. “You can’t.”
Add Shohei Ohtani to the ever-growing list of batters to fall victim to Clayton Kershaw’s infamous curveball.
Ohtani led off in the third inning as the Angels’ DH against the Dodgers on Wednesday for his first matchup against the three-time Cy Young winner. Despite getting ahead in the count, the Japanese international went down looking on strike three as Kershaw’s curveball proved to be too much.
Showstopper. #DodgersST pic.twitter.com/Zy09al1SFo
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 7, 2018
This strikeout was the only matchup between the two players, but it still managed to overshadow even the concept of a Trout vs. Kershaw face-off.
Ohtani, who went hitless in two at-bats Wednesday, could have a shot at redemption against Kershaw March 22 at Camelback Ranch, or perhaps during the exhibition Freeway Series from March 25-27. If neither of those come to fruition, the first Angels-Dodgers series of the regular season will be July 6-8.
Ichiro Suzuki, the 44-year-old baseball legend, is back with the Mariners and in the same division with 23-year-old Japanese phenom pitcher/DH Shohei Ohtani of the Angels.
“I can’t wait to hit off him when he pitches,’’ Ichiro said during his introductory press conference Wednesday. “And when he hits, I’d like to pitch against him.’’
Apparently, Ohtani is up for the challenge.
Ohtani said he thinks Ichiro could pitch well. https://t.co/TAPbkTED0m
— Pedro Moura (@pedromoura) March 7, 2018
Ichiro said Ohtani sent him a text message when he signed with the Angels and that the two have met several times during the offseason.
Ichiro has 3,080 career hits in MLB and should have plenty of opportunities to get a few off Ohtani this season. However, he likely wont have the same success if he deals to Ohtani from the mound. Ichiro did pitch one inning for the Marlins in 2015, giving up one earned run on two hits.
The Mariners and Angels play their first series of the season May 4-6 in Seattle.
Here’s a sign the Angels are counting on Shohei Ohtani to hit: He could face Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday.
LA is mulling whether to have Ohtani DH a third consecutive day. If he does get into the lineup, the left-handed swinger will be facing the top left-hander in the game.
“If I am, I’ll be excited,” Ohtani told reporters through an interpreter Tuesday (via MLB.com). “He is one of the best pitchers. Not just him, I’m facing the best pitchers in the world.”
Ohtani, who went 0 for 2 with a pair of strikeouts and a walk against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday (he’s 1 for 9 overall in the spring), is aiming to become one of the world’s best pitchers himself. He’s scheduled to start a “B” game Friday against the team that won the Mexican League last season. He’ll throw a bullpen session Wednesday in preparation.
Then he may pick up a bat and take his chances against Kershaw.
In his third spring training game as the Angels’ designated hitter, Shohei Ohtani went hitless in three at-bats Monday, including a deep fly ball that speedy Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton ran down.
Ohtani now has one hit in seven trips to the plate. He will DH again Tuesday, March 6. His next pitching outing is scheduled for Friday, March 9, in a “B” game vs. the defending Mexican League champion Tijuana Toros.
“He’s got about six weeks here in spring training to get adjusted, find his program, find his routine,” Angels DH/first baseman Albert Pujols told MLB.com. “He has a good approach at the plate for what he wants to do, and he works at it.”
Facing the B team of the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday, Shohei Ohtani struck out eight of the 12 batters he faced and gave up four hits.
As expected, he didn’t bat against Milwaukee, but is expected to DH on Sunday.
Bonus baseball: Shohei Ohtani pitching against the Brewers in a B game at Maryvale Baseball Park. https://t.co/isWnGTgmu6
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) March 2, 2018
Shohei Ohtani went hitless in three at bats in a 5-2 win over Colorado on Tuesday, with his next at-bats not expected until Sunday, March 4.
If first impressions are any indication, Shohei Ohtani will indeed be able to contribute to the Angels at the plate as well as on the mound — or better.
The two-way superstar from Japan reached base in all three plate appearances Monday in his spring training debut as a hitter.
Batting second for the Angels against the Padres, Ohtani drew a walk in the first inning after starting with a 0-2 count, then added another walk in the third. His biggest contribution came in the fifth, when Ohtani followed Eric Young Jr.’s one-out double with an RBI single to center, starting what became a four-run inning for the Angels.
Ohtani was then removed in favor of pinch-runner Jack Kruger but got a hero’s welcome when he returned to the dugout.
The 23-year-old’s impressive showing at the plate Monday helped balance out his pitching debut Saturday, in which the right-hander allowed a second-inning homer to Keon Broxton in his 1 1/3 innings of work against the Brewers.
By Arthur Weinstein
Shohei Ohtani, the most celebrated hitter/pitcher in baseball since Babe Ruth, had mixed results in his first MLB game appearance in Tempe, Ariz.
The 23-year-old former Japanese star got the start for the Angels against the Brewers. He went 1 1/3 innings, throwing 31 pitches, before manager Mike Sciosia pulled him with the score tied 2-2. That’s standard procedure for most pitchers in early spring games, to have a low pitch count and come out early.
The right-hander struck out the first and the last batter he faced in the first inning, but labored in between. He fell behind leadoff hitter Jonathan Villar, 3-1, who then smashed a line drive to deep center that bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double.
After striking out the next batter, Nate Orf, on a splitter, Ohtani walked Ji-Man Choi. With clean-up batter Manny Piña up, Ohtani threw a wild pitch in the dirt. Catcher Martín Maldonado’s wild throw to second in a bid to catch the advancing Choi allowed a run to score.
Piña fouled out, and Ohtani then struck out Brett Phillips on four pitches to end the inning with 26 pitches. After lead-off hitter Keon Broxton homered off Ohtani to begin the second inning, the pitcher retired Nick Franklin on a fly out before getting the hook.
Ohtani’s final line: 1 1/3 innings, two hits, one earned run, two strikeouts, one walk, a wild pitch, and that home run to Broxton.
Of course, the eyes of the baseball world were watching Ohtani — as they will be all season — to see how he adjusts to the American game. The early consensus is that he showed good movement on his pitches, even if some ended outside the strike zone.
Former MLB All-Star pitcher Mark Gubicza, now an Angels analyst, tweeted, “Fun to watch #ShoheiOhtani on the bump!! One unearned run with 2 punch outs!! Velocity, split and curve were solid in his 1st inning pitched! Overthrew a few but wow!! He is legit!”
Fun to watch #ShoheiOhtani on the bump!! One unearned run with 2 punch outs!! Velocity, split and curve were solid in his 1st inning pitched! Overthrew a few but wow!! He is legit! #Angels @FoxSportsWest
— Mark Gubicza (@Markgubicza) February 24, 2018
Shohei Ohtani displayed some great movement on his pitches during his Spring Training pitching debut today.
1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB & 2 K.#Angels pic.twitter.com/KeNLZPw9Dd
— Brad Badini ⚾️ (@celeBRADtion) February 24, 2018
By Ryan Fagan
TEMPE, Ariz. — It rained during Shohei Ohtani’s first official workout of spring training.
No, really. Actual rain in the Arizona desert. It rained for a long time Wednesday, in fact. Hours, not minutes.
That wasn’t exactly expected. Until Wednesday, this had been the ninth-driest winter in recorded Phoenix history, at just 0.44 inches of rain since the beginning of December. Ohtani, the two-way baseball superstar from Japan, is in Arizona for his first spring training with the Angels. In Anaheim, Calif., where his new — and very excited — franchise plays its home games, not much wet stuff falls from the sky during the season, either: 0.79 inches in April, 0.28 in May, 0.12 in June, 0.04 in July, 0.0 in August and 0.24 in September.
Let’s just say Ohtani probably didn’t pack multiple rain jackets on his flight from Japan.
So, yeah, of course it rained on the back fields of the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex Wednesday, where Ohtani and his fellow pitchers (and catchers) conducted their first official workout of the spring. It started sprinkling a few minutes after 11 a.m., while Ohtani was playing catch with fellow right-hander Felix Pena. It picked up a few minutes later, when Ohtani’s group of pitchers ran through drills covering first base on Field No. 2. The rain slowed a bit as the group moved to an outfield-less infield for bunt-fielding drills.
The next wave of precipitation rolled in around noon, as Ohtani was doing sprints in the outfield of Field No. 1, and by the time everyone moved to the batting cage on Field No. 2 we’d moved from light sprinkles to actual rain. Not heavy, but annoying. Not that anyone aside from media members trying to keep their equipment dry seemed to mind.
Ohtani’s batting practice, his first with the Angels, was a big damn deal. Angels GM Billy Eppler was there, and he had a hard time wiping the grin off his face. Manager Mike Scioscia was planted firmly with his arms on the back of the cage, and he spent most of BP smiling, too. Hideki Kuriyama, who was Ohtani’s manager with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan, watched from near the backstop (his Fighters are finishing up a spring training trip of their own, up the road in Scottsdale). The list of important, happy people went on and on.
Ohtani’s first BP session. pic.twitter.com/Hc9yP8HmBL
— Ryan Fagan (@ryanfagan) February 14, 2018
That unpredictable weather Wednesday seems like a fitting beginning to a season that figures to be full of unpredictability for Ohtani and the Angels. It’s not that anyone doubts Ohtani’s baseball talents. His right arm is a thunderbolt on the mound. The baseball jumps off his bat at the plate. These things are undeniable.
But Ohtani, a left-handed hitter who turns 24 in July, wants to do both things, like he did when he was a superstar with the Fighters. He wants to be a regular in both the Angels’ rotation and in the Angels’ lineup. That’s not exactly a normal thing in Ohtani’s new league. Sure, there are a handful of guys who have done both things in the majors — Rick Ankiel, Brooks Kieschnick and Adam Loewen — but they didn’t do both simultaneously (OK, Kieschnick did make three starts in the outfield and four at DH when he was a relief pitcher with the Brewers in 2003).
FANTASY ALARM: Ultimate cheat sheet
You pretty much have to go back to 1918 and 1919, when Babe Ruth pulled double duty as a starting pitcher and an outfielder for the Red Sox.
So, yeah, Ohtani’s upcoming season isn’t exactly predictable. On Tuesday, Scioscia told reporters that he expects Ohtani to make the most impact as part of a six-man rotation the club will experiment with in 2018. At least, that’s the plan now, in mid-February.
A couple hours after Wednesday’s workout — yes, it was still raining — the Angels held Ohtani’s first press conference of the spring in the Kachina Conference Center, at the Marriott Buttes Resort that overlooks the spring complex. Almost 25 minutes into the event, Scioscia’s comments about pitching being a priority were mentioned, and Ohtani was asked for his thoughts on the subject.
His answer, though interpreter Ippei Mizuhara: “First of all, he always tells me that he wants me to enjoy the game. That’s the first thing he wants me to think about. Of course, after every day of training, we talk, we communicate, we see if we need to adjust, add more or take some away. So we will be communicating, and he is willing to listen to what I have to say, and I will have some input in my role.”
Ohtani’s swing, in slo-mo pic.twitter.com/Sa8vTRo6tg
— Ryan Fagan (@ryanfagan) February 14, 2018
Ohtani’s words will matter, but so will his bat. In Japan, teams throw batting practice from the mound. In the majors, the pitcher throws BP in front of the mound. So that took him a minute to adjust to Wednesday, though it didn’t stop him from spraying line drives around the field. Ohtani also sent a couple pitches over the fence, to right field and right-center.
All in all, not a bad first day’s work in the desert rain.
By Muneharu Uchino
The legends and tales of Shohei Ohtani have rumbled across Major League Baseball for a couple of years now.
The whispers told stories of a teenage phenom in Japan who wielded a bat like Babe Ruth and used his golden arm to throw triple-digit fastballs like Nolan Ryan. And not only did he hit and pitch in Japan, he was a superstar at both tasks. In 2016, this wonder hit 22 homers with a .322 average and 1.004 OPS in 104 games as a hitter AND posted a 1.86 ERA with an average of 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings in 140 innings as a pitcher.
He was 21 years old that season.
FACES OF 2018: Ohtani one of the breakout stars of the new year
No doubt, the legend of Ohtani was intoxicating. What could he do if given the chance to compete in MLB, against the best baseball players in the world?
That’s what Ohtani, now 23, wants to know, too. And that burning desire is part of what makes Ohtani’s arrival in North America so damn interesting. This Japanese superstar could have landed a contract north of $200 million if he had waited two years to come over as a full-fledged free agent — by MLB’s current CBA, all international players under the age of 25 are considered amateurs, which means they’re only eligible for that specific, very restricted, bonus pool available to teams — but he wants to measure himself against the best of the best right damn now.
So instead of waiting for a deal worth $200 million, he chose to play for the Angels for the $2.315 million signing bonus the club had left in their international pool. Think about that. The competitive spirit was so strong in this athlete that he essentially threw away a couple hundred million so he could test his skills against elite competition.
How can you not root for a guy like that?
READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE
By Kirstie Chiappelli
Shohei Ohtani is bound for Los Angeles.
The Angels rookie on Monday bid farewell to his Japanese club, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, and threw the ceremonial pitch from the Sapporo Dome mound before leaving to join his new team in the United States.
札幌ドームのマウンドから、集大成の”1球”#lovefighters #大谷翔平 pic.twitter.com/Ucr76ikX2W
— 北海道日本ハムファイターズ公式 (@FightersPR) December 25, 2017
Ohtani was all smiles as he welcomed the crowd to his news conference and introduced himself in English while wearing an Angels jersey.
“Long time, no see,” he joked. “I’m Shohei Ohtani. Welcome to my press conference. Please enjoy.”
Ohtani spent five seasons playing for the Ham Fighters before signing with the Angels earlier this month. With his 102-mph fastball and power-hitting ability, the 23-year-old Japanese phenom is expected to make a splash as he transitions to MLB.
By Thomas Lott
Angels manager Mike Scioscia knows about the minor sprain in newly acquired pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani’s elbow, but he is not concerned.
“No restrictions with Shohei,” Scioscia told reporters Wednesday at baseball’s winter meetings. “The only understanding we have is really just something that’s behind him. There’s no concern, and there’s no restrictions. He’ll be full go in spring training.”
According to a physical obtained by Yahoo Sports, Ohtani received a platelet rich plasma injection in his pitching elbow in October to help heal a small tear in the ulnar collateral ligament in the same elbow.
The Angels knew of the injury risk and are clearly not worried, probably because this type of injury has historically been manageable. One of the best examples would be with a fellow player out of Japan in Masahiro Tanaka.
Tanaka had PRP injections in his elbow to deal with a slight UCL tear in 2014 and has since been able to pitch without having to undergo Tommy John surgery.
Scioscia could use Ohtani in a six-man rotation to help with his arm health and the transition to MLB.
“With Shohei, there’s a lot of things we’re going to consider about how many starts he’s going to get and where he’s going to fit in our rotation,” he said. “We haven’t made any determination but certainly something to consider.”
The Angels could also use Ohtani on the basepaths.
“I think that if he is going to play baseball, he’s going to play baseball,” Scioscia said. “Like any player, you want him to go out there and play as aggressively as they can. So if he’s running the bases, just like the rest of our guys on the team, you want him to you know the bases aggressively and he does have very, very good speed.
“What situations come up where you might be able to utilize his speed, that remains to be seen, but if he’s playing baseball and he’s DHing and he’s on the bases, he’s a runner. He’s not a pitcher, not a hitter, he’s a runner. So we want to apply that.”
By Marcus DiNitto
The Angels have won the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes, the Japanese baseball star’s agent, Nez Balelo, announced Friday, and the team later confirmed.
Here is a statement from Nez Balelo, Shohei Ohtani’s agent, about his client’s decision to sign with the Angels. pic.twitter.com/oPrFPUTcX3
— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) December 8, 2017
Today, the #Angels released the following statement regarding Shohei Ohtani: pic.twitter.com/IpDTJnfIie
— Angels (@Angels) December 8, 2017
The Angels were one of seven finalists for Ohtani’s services — the Giants, Dodgers, Cubs, Rangers, Mariners and Padres also made bids.
“This morning, after a thorough, detailed process, Shohei Ohtani has decided to sign with the Los Angeles Angels,” Balelo said in a statement. “Shohei is humbled and flattered by all the time and effort that so many teams put into their presentations and sincerely thanks them for their professionalism. In the end, he felt a strong connection with the Angels and believes they can best help him reach his goals in Major League Baseball.”
While previous reports said Ohtani preferred playing for a West Coast or small-market team, Balelo’s statement continued, “While there has been much speculation about what would drive Shohei’s decision, what mattered to him most wasn’t market size, time zone or league but that he felt a true bond with the Angels. He sees this as the best environment to develop and reach the next level and attain his career goals.”
— Mike Trout (@MikeTrout) December 8, 2017
In Ohtani, 23, the Angels get a player unlike one ever seen in modern baseball. As a right-handed pitcher, he throws a 100 mph fastball. As a left-handed batter, he hit 48 home runs with 166 RBIs, while slashing .286/.358/.500 during his five seasons with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of the Japanese Pacific League.
By Getty Images
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