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Shohei Ohtani gets second chance against Athletics, and vice versa

Angels second baseman Zack Cozart (7) is congratulated after hitting a walk-off home run to lift the Angels 3-2 over the Cleveland Indians in 13 innings.
(GIna Ferazzi / Gina Ferazzi)

Shohei Ohtani has produced stunning early results, pitching and hitting in a manner that probably has surprised even the most optimistic observers.

So, who knows what he might pull off in his next pitching start, Sunday at Angel Stadium. One thing is certain:

He’ll be facing Oakland. Again.

In a situation Mike Scioscia called “not ideal,” the Athletics will get their second shot at Ohtani in the span of eight days.

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The Angels manager indicated that he believes a lack of familiarity aids the pitcher, that edge eroded with each added plate appearance.

“I think it’s very common,” Scioscia said, “when you do pitch back-to-back games, there are some things that are neutralized.”

Ohtani had one rough stretch in his first start, allowing three consecutive batters to score in the second inning. Otherwise, he smothered Oakland’s offense, giving up nothing more than one walk in six innings.

He struck out six batters, retired 14 of the final 15 batters he faced and threw more than a third of his 92 pitches at or above 95 mph.

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On Sunday, he might need to be even better.

“There’s some more things where maybe the pitcher has to be a little finer with his stuff,” Scioscia said, “be a little crisper because hitters are starting to see him more in a shorter amount of time.”

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The Angels acquired Miguel Almonte from Kansas City in exchange for cash or a player to be named. Almonte, 25, appeared in 11 games with the Royals the last two seasons.

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The right-hander has been a starter and reliever. Angels general manager Billy Eppler said the club would groom Almonte to be a reliever. Almonte was optioned to triple-A Salt Lake.

To make room on the 40-man roster, catcher Juan Graterol was designated for assignment.

jmiller2929@yahoo.com

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