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Where EAST meets the Northwest


BOUND FOR THE MOUND. Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels bats during a spring training baseball game in Tempe, Arizona, in this February 28, 2020 file photo. Ohtani will resume his two-way career when baseball returns. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

From The Asian Reporter, V30, #08 (July 6, 2020), page 10.

Shohei Ohtani returns to two-way role with Angels this season

By Greg Beacham

The Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. ó Shohei Ohtani will resume his two-way career with the Los Angeles Angels when baseball returns.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler confirmed that his Japanese star will pitch and hit in the majors this season.

Ohtani was only a designated hitter last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He wasnít expected to pitch in 2020 until at least May, and Eppler confirmed that the coronavirus pandemic hasnít altered the Angelsí plans.

"Weíll probably have a little bit more of a governor on him, at least at the outset," Eppler said. "Heís had a number of live (throwing sessions against hitters), but we want to up that intensity a little bit more and put him into a game situation. Just watching how he responds on a day-to-day basis will help guide us to how much we can push down on the gas pedal on him. Weíre expecting him to be on the mound and stay on the mound and roll through spring training."

Manager Joe Maddon said he hoped Ohtani would start roughly once a week on the mound while serving as the Halosí designated hitter in 3-4 games between starts. The Angels could have a six-man rotation for the short season.

Ohtani batted .286 last season with 18 homers, 62 Runs Batted In (RBI), and .848 On-base Plus Slugging (OPS) in 106 games. His production at the plate was nearly identical to his work in 2018, when he was the AL Rookie of the Year while making 10 starts on the mound.

Eppler said none of the Angelsí players are currently intending to opt out of playing in the shortened season. That includes three-time AL MVP Mike Trout, whose wife is due with their first child later this summer.

Eppler confirmed that first-round pick Reid Detmers will be on the Angelsí summer roster as the 56th player, although the left-handed starter hasnít officially yet been added.

Eppler also went into details on the Angelsí adherence to health and safety protocols at Angel Stadium and at Blair Field in Long Beach, where the Angels also will hold their summer camp. The Angels have removed communal couches and tables from their clubhouses in a bid to remind their players of the new realities.

"Think of the clubhouse as more of a closet," said Eppler, who has received positive feedback from his players over their safety steps. "Itís where clothes hang. Absent of anything you need to do in the training room or weight room, get outside."

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