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ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 02: Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) celebrates on the field after the Angels defeated the Baltimore Orioles 8 to 7 on a walk-off single in the ninth inning of a game played on July 2, 2021 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA. (Photo : John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Shohei Ohtani will be a busy man in the Midsummer Classic. After confirming his participation in the Home Run Derby weeks ago, the Japanese superstar made more history Sunday, becoming the first player in the history of Major League Baseball to be selected to the All-Star Game both as a position player and a pitcher.
Ohtani was among the American League starting pitchers picked Sunday for the showpiece event at the Coors Field. The Los Angeles Angels star racked up 121 votes in balloting by players, managers and coaches announced three days after fan-elected starters for the All-Star Game were revealed.
Ohtani was already chosen as one of those starters as he will serve as the American League’s designated hitter on July 13.
Ohtani earns a dual role after a stellar start to the season
Ohtani has been simply sensational for the Angels this season, both at the plate and on the mound. The 27-year-old is hitting .276 with a major league-leading 31 home runs and 67 RBIs. The 31 long balls that Ohtani had hit this season tied for the third most before the All-Star break over the last 20 seasons. Only Albert Pujols (32 – 2009 season) and Chris Davis (37 – 2013 season) have hit more home runs than Ohtani before the Midsummer Classic.
Ohtani is 3-1 with a 3.60 ERA and 83 strikeouts over 60 innings in 12 starts for the Angels this season. He will make his last start before the All-Star break on Tuesday against the Boston Red Sox.
Angels manager Joe Maddon has spoken with Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash, who is serving as the skipper of the American League team, and he confirmed to reporters that Ohtani would do double duty at the All-Star Game.
“The conclusion is that he will pitch, but how it’s going to happen has not been concluded,” Maddon said in an interview on Monday. “There’s different ways to do it, obviously. He could start the game or come in game-in-progress. And how often do you hit him? 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.”
Related Article: Shohei Ohtani, Pete Alonso Join 2021 MLB Home Run Derby
Boston well-represented in All-Star Game
Joining Ohtani in the American League’s pitching staff for the All-Star Game are fellow starting pitchers Gerrit Cole of the New York Yankees (272 votes), Chicago White Sox stars Lance Lynn (199 votes), and Carlos Rodón (192 votes).
The National League will be led by New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom who garnered 321 votes, thanks largely to the incredible 0.95 ERA he has posted this season. He was followed by San Francisco Giants’ Kevin Gausman (210 votes), Milwaukee Brewers’ Corbin Burnes (153 votes) and Brandon Woodruff (146 votes), and San Diego Padres’ Yu Darvish (105 votes).
The Boston Red Sox were also rewarded for their fine start to the season as five of their players made the All-Star lineup, the most in the majors this year. They are designated hitter J.D. Martinez, starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, reliever Matt Barnes, shortstop Xander Bogaerts and third baseman Rafael Devers.
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