Ohtani Selected As All-Star Position Player & PitcherJake Cooper | 08 Jul 2021
Baseball fans will get a double dose of Shohei Ohtani at this year’s All-Star Game after he was selected as a pitcher and as a position player. It will be the first time a player plays in two roles in Major League Baseball’s Midsummer Classic, which is set to take place at Colorado’s Coors Field on 13 July.
Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon discussed Ohtani’s two-role selection with Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash, who also manages the American League team. Maddon said that, while Cash intends to see Ohtani play in both roles, he hasn’t decided which inning Ohtani will pitch.
Various Scenarios Possible
Maddon explained that there are various possibilities when it comes to the way Cash can utilize Ohtani as a pitcher in the much-anticipated game. One way is to let him start the game, and another is to let him come in during the game.
In addition to considering these and other positions, the manager also needs to take into account Ohtani’s participation in the Home Run Derby on the day before the All-Star Game. The Angels manager elaborated that these and other factors are the reasons Cash needs to work out the best way to use the player. Maddon added that Ohtani was enthusiastic about his historic selection as a two-way player in one of baseball’s most popular events.
Whatever Cash’s plan turns out to be, it will need to give Ohtani enough time to prepare for his time on the pitcher’s mound. One possibility is that the player can pitch early, start or he could get at-bats as a designated hitter before exiting the game and preparing to re-enter it later. Things could become complicated if he exits as the designated hitter, as he can’t re-enter the game as a pitcher without the rules being changed.
Ohtani’s record this season may hold the answer to this conundrum. In 9 out of 12 starts, he was the designated hitter and the starting pitcher. The downside is that, if Cash decides on this scenario, other deserving starters much as Red Sox’s Nathan Eovaldi, White Sox’s Carlos Rodón, and the Rangers’ Kyle Gibson might be overlooked.
Trout To Return Pending Assessment
In related news, Mike Trout, who was named as one of the game’s starters alongside Ohtani, will not play on July 13. He was placed on a 60-day injured list after straining his calf on May 17, and he is due to return on July 17, pending a rehabilitation assessment.
Maddon said Trout started betting practice on the field before the game on July 5, and he is expected to progress to running on the field soon.