Angels' Joe Maddon Expresses Support for Shohei Ohtani to Bat, Pitch in All-Star Game

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 3, 2021

Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) warms up before stepping up to bat during the first inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles Friday, July 2, 2021, in Anaheim. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
AP Photo/Ashley Landis

Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon wants to see two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani both hit and pitch during the upcoming MLB All-Star Game.

According to Joe Reedy of the Associated Press, Maddon said:

"The maximum participation of Shohei within limits to me is the right thing to do. What else could you possibly want? We have to do it in a manner that is not going to be destructive in some way.

"In order to have him both pitch and hit, you have to relax a bit, the DH rule. I think they're prepared to do those kinds of things."

Ohtani, who has starred at the plate and on the mound this season, was voted in as the starting designated hitter for the American League squad in the 2021 MLB All-Star Game, which will take place July 13 at Coors Field in Denver.

The 26-year-old native of Japan is in his fourth MLB season, and he has finally developed into the superstar the Angels expected when they signed him.

Ohtani is enjoying by far his best season as a batter, hitting .280 with an MLB-leading 30 home runs. He also has 66 RBI, 58 runs scored and 12 stolen bases.

In addition, he performed well as the Angels' ace starting pitcher, posting a 3-1 record with a 3.60 ERA and 83 strikeouts over 60 innings.

Maddon said he has been in contact with Tampa Bay Rays and AL All-Star manager Kevin Cash about using Ohtani in every capacity and doing it safely during the All-Star Game.

As Maddon noted, MLB will have to alter the usual DH rule for the All-Star Game if the league desires to have Ohtani hit and pitch. The rule for non-exhibition games states that the designated hitter cannot play the field, meaning Ohtani would be ineligible to pitch in the All-Star Game under normal regulations.

Regarding how he expects to be used during the All-Star Game, Ohtani said through a translator:

"I think as players we're all like just pieces of the puzzle, and it's all up to the manager, how he's going to decide to use me. That's all I can say for now. It is a pretty big milestone. I want the team to win first. As long as I'm performing and helping the team win, I felt like it should come natural for me to be selected as an All-Star."

In addition to hitting and possibly pitching in the All-Star Game, Ohtani will take part in the Home Run Derby .

Ohtani will be part of a stacked field in the Derby that includes New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez and Baltimore Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini.

As the front-runner for AL MVP and one of the most rare players in MLB history, Ohtani will have all eyes on him in Colorado, and he figures to be the biggest draw with regard to the All-Star festivities.

If MLB is willing to make some concessions to make it possible for Ohtani to hit and pitch in the All-Star Game, it could go a long way toward generating additional interest in the event.