Peoria, Arizona – Shohei Ohtani gave an eye-catching display of his two-way talents Sunday when he started on the mound and at the plate for the Los Angeles Angels in a spring training game against the San Diego Padres.
Pitching and hitting in the same game for the first time with the Angels, Ohtani went 2-for-2 with a walk as leadoff hitter, while in his four-inning start, he struck out five and allowed a run on two hits and two walks.
Ohtani’s performance at the plate in the Angels’ 4-1 loss took his spring training batting average to an outstanding .636 on 14-for-22 hitting, including a team-leading four homers.
The right-handed pitcher had his fastball working and was clocked at 101.9 mph (164 kph) on a pitch to Padres superstar Fernando Tatis Jr., whom he retired twice, while also striking out regulars Wil Myers and Jurickson Profar.
Despite getting tagged with the loss, Ohtani was positive about his preparation to return to two-way duties for the Angels in the American League after being restricted by injuries the past two seasons.
“I was happy about being able to get strikeouts. On the minus side, there were some bad pitches and walks,” said Ohtani, who did not feel any impact on his pitching from running the bases.
“I got on base, but as I didn’t steal, it didn’t tire me out.”
While Ohtani has previously batted leadoff as a starting pitcher for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in the Pacific League, doing it is virtually unheard of in the big leagues.
According to MLB.com, the last player to do both in the majors, while staying on the mound for more than an inning, was Jim Jones for the New York Giants in 1901.
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