Albany Times Union

Ohtani to pitch, hit in All- Star Game

L.A . Angels manager Maddon pushes for star to show all skills

- By Greg Beacham

Shohei Ohtani plans to be a pitcher and a hitter in his first All-star Game next week, his Los Angeles Angels manager says.

Joe Maddon said Monday that he has spoken with AL manager Kevin Cash and given his encouragem­ent to showcase all of the Japanese sensation’s two-way skills on July 13 at Coors Field. Maddon says Ohtani wants to play both ways in Denver, and Cash is on board with the plan.

The current Tampa Bay manager just hasn’t figured out when Ohtani will pitch, according to the former Rays skipper.

“The conclusion is that he will pitch, but how it’s going to happen has not been concluded,” Maddon said. “There’s different ways to do it, obviously. He could start the game, or come in game-in-progress.”

Last weekend, Ohtani — who leads the majors in homers — became the first player in major league history to be selected for an All-star Game as both a hitter and a pitcher. The fans elected him to the game at the plate, and he received the honor as a pitcher in the final team announceme­nt on Sunday.

The only remaining questions are about the logistics of Ohtani’s evening in Colorado, but Maddon believes they can sort it out — even if it required Major League Baseball to tweak its rules slightly in order to give Ohtani enough time to get ready to play both ways.

Ohtani could start on the mound for the AL, which would allow him to contribute both ways immediatel­y as the pitcher and the designated hitter.

But if the AL team elects to start another worthy pitcher, Ohtani could start as the designated hitter before moving to the mound later in the game if he had enough time to warm up — or perhaps he could do both as a reserve.

“How often do you hit him?” Maddon asked. “And don’t forget he’ll be in the Home Run Derby the day before. There’s a lot going on there. But Shohei is into it. It’s not like we’re trying to push him into doing anything. We’re just trying to figure out the best way to do it.”

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