Angels monitoring Ohtani daily to determine how much two-way player can pitch/DH


Two weeks after all the talk about whether Shohei Ohtani should be playing in the big leagues, the talk now is about whether he should be playing more in the big leagues.

The conversation is just the latest way to measure how extreme the opinions about the Angels’ two-way rookie phenom have shifted after just 22 at-bats and two pitching starts.

“We’re playing him as much as we possibly can until we get him evaluated,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’re playing him a lot. I don’t think you guys realize that. We’re playing him a lot. He’s doing a lot.”

Scioscia explained that until the team is sure how much Ohtani and his body can handle the plan is to proceed cautiously. He is monitored daily by the training and medical staffs.


Angels' Shohei Ohtani bats during the second inning against the Kansas City Royals on Thursday
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press )

“This is really uncharted territory, even for (what he did in) Japan,” Scioscia said. “Now that he’s going to do both, hopefully, for a full season, we’ll be able to get some baselines on what he can do.”

The issue surfaced after Ohtani was credited with making a postgame comment Wednesday about hoping his playing time would increase as the season progressed.

While noting that he would follow the blueprint set by the Angels, he said through an interpreter that his desire is to “make them want to play me more.” There was speculation that the interpretation might have been slightly misleading.

Based on what appears to be his early schedule, there were two games where Ohtani could have been the designated hitter but did not start.

He served in that role Thursday -- batting eighth -- in the opener of a four-game series against Kansas City.

On Friday afternoon, Ohtani is scheduled to throw a bullpen session in advance of his pitching start Sunday. There’s a good possibility that he’ll then start at DH later that night.

Scioscia said the idea for now is to continue using Ohtani on offense three or four days a week, a pace the team feels is reasonable “without putting him at risk of setbacks in either area.”

“If it evolves into something else,” Scioscia added, “so be it.”

Each of Ohtani’s first three pitching starts will have come on a Sunday, but Scioscia said he can foresee that schedule changing.

Angels: ‘No intent’ to hit Andrus

Texas manager Jeff Banister did not accuse the Angels of intentionally throwing at Elvis Andrus during the ninth inning Wednesday. But he did say a postgame query on the subject was “a fair question for you to ask.”

At least one report suggested the Rangers might have been suspicious after Keynan Middleton hit Andrus following Mike Trout getting hit by a pitch in the top of the ninth.

The circumstances became more significant when Andrus was later diagnosed with an elbow fracture that is expected to sideline him six to eight weeks.

“There was obviously no intent,” Scioscia said Thursday. “We didn’t feel there was any intent when Mike got hit, and we obviously weren’t trying to hit Elvis in that situation.”

Kinsler activated, Schimpf optioned

With Ian Kinsler (adductor strain) being activated from the disabled list, Ryan Schimpf was optioned back to triple-A Salt Lake.