Shohei Ohtani Won't Play OF for Angels This Season, Says GM Billy Eppler

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 9, 2017

ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 09:  Shohei Ohtani speaks onstage as he is introduced to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on December 9, 2017 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Angels are delaying Shohei Ohtani's quest to become a position player and pitcher in Major League Baseball. 

During Ohtani's introductory press conference at Angel Stadium on Saturday, general manager Billy Eppler said the Japanese star would not play outfield for the team in 2017, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register

Eppler did note the Angels could take a different approach with their starting rotation now that Ohtani is in the fold. 

"We're very open-minded to a six-man rotation," he said, per Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times

Angels manager Mike Scioscia made a point of saying the team does intend to use him as a two-way player.

"We definitely plan on Ohtani being a two-way player," Scioscia said, per Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. "There's no doubt about that."

Not having Ohtani in the outfield doesn't necessarily mean he won't hit for the Angels next season. American League rules give the team the luxury of using him at designated hitter on days when he's not pitching. 

Nez Balelo, Ohtani's agent, told Japanese reporters last month his client wanted to "play both ways" in MLB

The Angels won the Ohtani sweepstakes when he officially signed with the team Saturday. The 23-year-old phenom was a superstar in Japan where he posted a 2.52 ERA in 543 innings as a pitcher and hit 48 home runs in 403 games as a hitter.