Angels’ Shohei Ohtani hits monstrous home run for first Cactus League blast

Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani against the Texas Rangers during a spring training baseball game.
Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani bats against the Texas Rangers during a spring training baseball game Wednesday in Tempe, Ariz.
(Matt York/Associated Press)

Angels 6, Rangers 2 (six innings)

ON THE MOUND: Dylan Bundy needed only 28 pitches to throw two hitless innings, so the right-hander threw additional pitches in the bullpen after his first exhibition start. New closer Raisel Iglesias, acquired from the Cincinnati Reds over the winter, made his spring debut, giving up a wind-blown opposite-field homer to Steele Walker before retiring three in a row, including a strikeout of Charlie Culberson with a nice breaking ball. Setup man Mike Mayers yielded two singles and struck out two in a scoreless fourth.

AT THE PLATE: Shohei Ohtani crushed his first Cactus League home run, a two-run shot that traveled 468 feet and cleared the 32-foot-high batter’s eye in center field to give the Angels a 4-1 lead in the fifth. “That’s what we’ve been seeing even in regular batting practice,” manager Joe Maddon said of Ohtani, who is looking to rebound from a season in which he hit .190. “Better balance, better overall approach, and that’s a pitch that’s normally been tough for him in the past, an elevated fastball with good velocity.” Ohtani said the swing “is going to lead to a lot of confidence,” but when asked about the 468-foot measurement, he said, “There was wind.” Third baseman Anthony Rendon, slowed by soreness early in camp, made his spring debut and stroked a leadoff double to right-center field to spark a two-run fourth.

The starting pitcher and designated hitter avoids arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $8.5-million contract with the Angels on Monday.

Feb. 8, 2021


EXTRA BASES: Junior Guerra, who is expected to compete for a bullpen spot, arrived in camp after being delayed by visa issues. … Max Stassi, who is rehabilitating from offseason hip surgery, has not been cleared to play, but Maddon said the catcher “feels great” and has been a full participant in workouts. … Top outfield prospect Brandon Marsh, slowed by an arm injury, is scheduled to start at designated hitter on Friday.

UP NEXT: Angels right-hander Griffin Canning is scheduled to oppose Arizona left-hander Madison Bumgarner at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Thursday at noon PST. TV: FSW. Radio: AM 830.