Arlington, Texas – Shohei Ohtani will not make another pitching start this year, Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon told reporters on Wednesday.
Ohtani, who is one win short of tying Babe Ruth’s 103-year-old record of double-digit wins and home runs in a single season, finishes the season as a pitcher with a 9-2 record and 3.18 ERA in 23 starts.
Instead, the 27-year-old Japanese will only hit in the club’s five remaining games after a mutual decision by the player and team. Ohtani enters Wednesday’s game against the Texas Rangers with 45 home runs, the third-most in MLB.
His stats have him in contention for both the home run title and the American League MVP award.
“Just talking with him, he just felt as though it’s the right time to shut down, so that’s what we’re going to do,” Maddon said.
“He finished with two really strong outings and there’s nothing to really gain right now. So it’s probably best to not pitch him. And again, this came from a conversation with him.”
The Angels sit at 75-83 after beating the Rangers 7-2 on Wednesday and have been eliminated from postseason contention.
In the game at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Ohtani went 2-for-5 while scoring one run and adding two stolen bases, his 25th and 26th of the season. He is now batting .258.
Ohtani started last Sunday’s game against the Seattle Mariners and allowed one run and five hits while striking out 10 in seven innings of work. In his previous start, he gave up two earned runs and five hits with 10 strikeouts against the Oakland Athletics.
He threw over 100 pitches in each of his final two pitching starts.
His pitching stats are all the more impressive considering he had Tommy John surgery to fix his elbow in 2019 and did not pitch at all. He made just two starts during the shortened 2020 campaign.
Now Ohtani will focus on improving his already noteworthy offensive numbers and try to live up to his billing as the second coming of Ruth.
As a pitcher and outfielder for the Boston Red Sox in 1918, Ruth set a milestone by recording 13 wins and 11 home runs. Ruth, who played both ways in 1918 and 1919, became a full-time batter following his trade to the New York Yankees in 1920.
Angels general manager Perry Minasian heaped praise on Ohtani’s historic performance this season and said he is already a great player but he feels like he can become even greater.
“What he did was pretty amazing. It was fun to watch. I’m looking forward to what he can do next year,” he said.
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