ANAHEIM, California – Shohei Ohtani will enter this year’s Major League Baseball All-Star Home Run Derby, the Los Angeles Angels two-way star revealed Friday, becoming the first Japanese player to compete in the event.
Ohtani made the announcement to fans on his Instagram account with a video showing several of his home runs from this season so far.
The Home Run Derby will take place on the eve of the July 13 All-Star Game at Coors Field in Denver.
“I’m really excited and looking forward to it. I’ll do my best to hit further than anyone else,” Ohtani said at a news conference ahead of the Angels’ game against the Detroit Tigers on Friday.
Ohtani was the leader among American League designated hitters in the All-Star Game balloting released on Monday. The 26-year-old could also pitch in the showcase game.
On Friday, Ohtani hit two more long bombs, giving him 21 home runs on the season. Only Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. had hit more homers, with 22 each.
Although the MLB Home Run Derby will be his first, Ohtani has strong credentials, having won Nippon Professional Baseball’s version of the event in 2016, when he was a member of the Pacific League’s Nippon Ham Fighters.
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