The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun
Ohtani makes history by surpassing innings mark
OAKLAND, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani continues to make history. e Los Angeles Angels two-way superstar took the mound Oct. 5 in the team’s nal game of the season needing to complete one inning to become the rst player in the World Series era, which started in 1903, to qualify for the league leaders as a hitter and a pitcher in the same year.
Ohtani had already blown past the 502 plate appearances necessary as a hitter. With his ve innings thrown as the starting pitcher against the Oakland Athletics, he logged 166 innings pitched, surpassing the threshold of 162 innings.
“I recognized that both numbers were within reach as long as I could show up consistently,” Ohtani said.
e 28-year-old continued his dominance on the mound, allowing only one run on one hit and a walk while striking out six, but he was credited with the loss as the A’s won 3-2. He also went 1-for4 batting third as the Angels designated hitter.
Ohtani nished the season 15-9 with a 2.33 ERA and 219 strikeouts, while hitting .273 with 34 homers and 95 RBIs in 666 plate appearances.
Behind Ohtani’s remarkable accomplishments is his high level of awareness in taking care of his body and building it up since he graduated from high school in 2013 and became a professional baseball player.
During the o -season in his rst year with Japan’s Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, he visited the laboratory of Takashi Kawamura, an associate professor at the University of Tsukuba and manager of the university’s baseball team. Kawamura specializes in motion analysis, and Ohtani learned about the importance of the muscles used for pitching and hitting.
Ohtani was 19 when Kawamura told him that professional baseball players peak from age 25, so it is a good idea to gradually build up his body. e slender teenager out of high school steadily put on a thicker frame and has nally reached a point in his career where he is a consistent two-way player.
Looking ahead to next season already, Ohtani said, “It’s important to pitch every game with the desire to get better and better.” (Oct. 7)