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Shohei Ohtani Doesn't Think He's at the 'Level' to Participate in Home Run Derby

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2018

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani, of Japan, throws to the plate during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Sunday, May 20, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Some people want Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani to participate in the Home Run Derby. He just doesn't see that happening—at least not yet. 

"I don't think I'm at that level yet," Ohtani told reporters Sunday. "I'm honored to be in that conversation."

Ohtani, 23, has six home runs in 84 at bats while playing a part-time designated hitter role. The Angels have prioritized him as a pitcher, where he's 4-1 with a 3.35 ERA and 1.07 WHIP over his first seven starts. Ohtani is in the lineup as a DH just a few times per week at this point.            

Ohtani previously won Japan's 2016 Home Run Derby. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Saturday that the team will not prevent any player from participating in the MLB event.

"That's a player's decision," Scioscia said. "I'm sure there's going to be a lot of things that come into what a player decides, but it's always been the prerogative of a player if he wants to participate in things like that."

The 2018 Home Run Derby will be held July 16 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

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