Determined Ohtani charging back into 2-way role for Angels


ANAHEIM, California (AP) – Shohei Ohtani is doing twice as much work as his Los Angeles Angels teammates again, and he's thrilled about it.

The majors' first serious two-way player in decades is alternating between hitting and bullpening sessions this week at Big A. Ohtani is determined to contribute on the mound and on the plate when the Angels return to action later this month for the short term . major league season.

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Ohtani he will shoot approximately once a week and he will act as the hitter designated by the Halos for some games in between. If everything goes as planned, he will have at least eight riding games and at least 30 games as a DH.

He's been waiting to return in good shape since the end of 2018, when his AL Rookie of the Year campaign ended with Tommy John's surgery. After approximately 17 months of rehabilitation of the patient's arm and a four-month pause at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Ohtani is totally healthy and eager to do it all over again.

The necessary training regime keeps you unusually busy, but Ohtani embraces him with the ascetic mentality that took him to elite levels in Japan and North America.

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"It has been normal for me to shoot as much as to hit my entire professional career, so last year was a strange season for me," Ohtani said Saturday through his translator. "In fact, it feels like I'm getting back to my normal routine this year. In that sense, I feel very comfortable. And it's a short season. It's more of a race than a marathon, so I'm just trying to get 100% out of the way.”

Ohtani largely trapped Anaheim in the past few months, and he was allowed to continue his training at Angel Stadium because he was recovering from an injury. Apparently, he formed a comfortable bubble around his life and remained focused on the future.

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"In addition to going to the field and coming back, I had a lot of downtime" Ohtani said. “Obviously, I have to eat, cook and stay healthy. In my spare time, I was reading books and watching TV, but I would say that I spent most of my time sleeping. "

Ohtani, who turns 26 on Sunday, had already done remarkable things before his elbow gave out two years ago. He also needed surgery on his left knee after last season, which passed entirely as HD, but is fully recovered from both procedures.

Your coaches and teammates are seeing some of the impressive athletic talents that resemble 2018, though Ohtani warns everyone to wait until he is really playing for live hitters.

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"He looks great (on the hill), and he looks very good in the dough box too," said Angels' new manager, Joe Maddon. "The guys who have been with him more than I am are really impressed with his location at the moment, as he is, physical form. I keep listening to the coaches who saw him in the past as he is doing well now.”

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Maddon first met Ohtani in spring training in Arizona, and they spoke a few times at Angel Stadium during the pandemic break. Ohtani he was already formidable and athletic, and a long season of work just seems to have improved his physique and technique.

"He's a quiet boy," said Maddon. "He's very internal. He's analytical. He smiles easily. He's just a good soul. He's so dedicated to his job. He doesn't want to be good. He wants to be great. That's the answer I get from him. He is motivated. "

Ohtani he is likely to play in a game on the court next week, when he gets into top form at the start of the season in less than three weeks.

"I will increase my intensity from there and see how my arm reacts" Ohtani said. "But from now on, I feel really good."

NOTES: The new pitcher Julio Teherán is not yet on the field and Maddon has not revealed the reason. The Angels signed a one-year offseason contract with the right-handed Colombian, and he must be in his rotation. … The team is scheduled for its first intrasquad game on Tuesday in Anaheim.

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