Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout selected as All-Star game starters
Angels stars Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout were named All-Stars on Thursday, voted by fans to be starters on the American League team.
Ohtani will be the starting designated hitter. Trout was voted in as one of three outfielders, but isn’t expected to be able to play in the July 13 game at Coors Field in Denver as he continues to recover from a Grade 2 strain to his right calf.
It is Ohtani’s first career selection to the All-Star team and Trout’s ninth. It is the first time the Angels have had two players selected as starters in the fan vote since 2003.
The Dodgers had five position players named finalists to start for the National League, but none got enough votes in the second phase of balloting.
Shohei Ohtani has become one of baseball’s best players and a favorite to win the American League MVP award. Here are five reasons why.
First baseman Max Muncy and third baseman Justin Turner finished second at their respective positions. Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves (47%) beat out Muncy (34%) and Nolan Arenado of the St. Louis Cardinals (47%) eclipsed Turner (34%).
Ohtani, who is leading the majors with 28 home runs and has a 3.60 ERA as a pitcher, won out against Yordan Alvarez of the Houston Astros and J.D. Martinez of the Boston Red Sox.
The big question now: Will the two-way star pitch in the game, too?
Angels manager Joe Maddon on Thursday reiterated his support of that possibility, saying he’d be “all for” Ohtani, who will also participate in the Home Run Derby on July 12, playing both ways in the Midsummer Classic.
“Of course, he’d only pitch one inning, and he’d maybe get one at-bat,” Maddon said, adding: “Let him hit and pitch. People want to see that.”
Maddon noted that the league would probably have to make an exception to the rules for Ohtani to be able to do both, since the All-Star game is played with a designated hitter. The American League team will be managed by Tampa Bay Rays skipper Kevin Cash.
Maddon, who has managed two All-Star games, noted that playing Ohtani both ways could be an easier decision now that the event no longer decides home-field advantage in the World Series.
“This game would not count, it’s an exhibition,” Maddon said. “So for me, I would just open it up.”
Trout became the first player since Alex Rodriguez in 2008 to earn starting honors via the fan vote in eight consecutive All-Star games. Before he got hurt on May 17, Trout was batting .333 with eight home runs and 18 RBIs.
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