Shohei Ohtani will hit and pitch during MLB All-Star game
A day after the league announced Ohtani had become the first player in MLB history to earn All-Star honors as both a pitcher and position player — he had already been voted into the game by fans last week as the American League’s starting designated hitter — Maddon said he had spoken with AL manager Kevin Cash to confirm Ohtani would play both ways in the game, though is hasn’t been decided exactly when he will take the mound.
“He will pitch,” Maddon said. “But how it will happen has not been concluded.”
Maddon said it’s possible Ohtani could start the game as a pitcher, or take the mound later in the game. It’s also unclear how many at-bats Ohtani will take in the game, especially considering he is participating in the Home Run Derby the day before.
“There’s a lot going on there,” Maddon said. “But I do want you to know that Shohei is into it. We’re not trying to push him to do anything. He is into it. Just like he wants to play the day before he pitches, the day he is pitching, and then the day after. He is totally absorbed into this, and we’re just trying to figure out the best way to do it.”
Ohtani entered Monday with a .278 batting average and MLB-leading 31 home runs, in addition to a 3.60 ERA and 83 strikeouts in 60 innings on the mound.
Something else that hasn’t been decided: whether Ohtani will play both ways against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday, when he is scheduled to make his 13th pitching start of the season.
The Angels defeated the Boston Red Sox 5-4 on Wednesday to take the series.
It likely will depend on the health status of Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon (hamstring) and outfielder Taylor Ward (finger). Both left Sunday’s game with injuries and weren’t in the team’s starting lineup on Monday. However, as of Monday, neither had been placed on the injured list.
If they remain on the active roster but are still unavailable to play Tuesday, it could leave the Angels’ bench too short-handed for Maddon to feel comfortable sacrificing the designated hitter spot in order to put Ohtani in the batting lineup too.
“It’s gonna be based on [the] bench,” Maddon said. “Like if he was pitching today, we might only have a catcher on the bench. And that makes it really problematic. So we’ll see how this plays out going into tomorrow … I have to wait and see what the bench is going to look like.”
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