Angels Welcome Japan’s Babe Ruth: Meet Shohei Ohtani, Man Of Many Talents

The Angels Welcome New Stud In Japan, Shohei Ohtani was feared on the mound and at the plate. Like the U.S.’ Babe Ruth, he was a double threat –...

The Angels Welcome New Stud

In Japan, Shohei Ohtani was feared on the mound and at the plate.

Like the U.S.’ Babe Ruth, he was a double threat – pitching and hitting.

Ohtani stepped out on the field in Tempe, Arizona, on Wednesday with his new team – the Los Angeles Angels. Unlike most players, he had to take part in all drills.

He worked on covering first base, which pitchers do, and he took a bit of batting practice (which, given the way pitchers hit, probably occurs less frequently than it should).

The Angels have to figure out the best ways to use this multi-talented newcomer without wearing him out. Can he pitch one day and play the outfield the next? Do they risk him running the bases? Do they use him as a designated hitter? Well, the outfield may not happen, according to manager Mike Scioscia, but plans are still in the works.

“Baseball-wise on the field I’m going to be nothing different than what I was doing in Japan,” Ohtani said through translator Ippei Mizuhara.

Ohtani is scheduled for his first bullpen session on Thursday, but won’t face live hitters until next week. And he will have to learn not only the hitters he will face, but the pitchers as well. That’s a load. But he handled quite a load in Japan.

The 23-year-old went 42-15 with a 2.52 ERA on the mound There’s a lot of things he can do. I want him to play baseball. So, if he’s out there, he’s going to play baseball.”in five seasons with the Nippon Ham Fighters. He also hit 22 home runs in 2016.

“There’s a lot of things he can do. I want him to play baseball. So, if he’s out there, he’s going to play baseball,” Scioscia said.

And that’s the essence of it all. Play ball!
 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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