- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 25, 2018

Japanese two-way baseball phenom Shohei Ohtani made his first appearance on the mound for the Los Angeles Angels in spring training Saturday. It could have been better: He allowed two hits, including a home run, and one earned run in 1.1 innings against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Despite the erratic start, Ohtani figures to be a big draw for the Angels and the game of baseball. He certainly attracts the Japanese media.

According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, Angels manager Mike Scioscia talks to 20 or more Japanese reporters about Shohei Ohtani as “part of his daily routine this spring.”

What Crasnick observed really did start early and become a routine for Scioscia and the Angels. When Los Angeles’ pitchers and catchers reported to the Cactus League earlier this month, a Los Angeles Times writer counted “about 70 reporters and photographers — most from Japanese media outlets” when the skipper talked about Ohtani.

Several players have made the leap from Nippon Professional Baseball to the United States, but Ohtani seems to be the biggest star to attract Japanese media to American ballparks since Hideki Matsui, and future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki before him.

Ohtani, 23, signed with the Angels this winter after deciding he was ready to make the switch from Japan to Major League Baseball. He is considered both a great pitcher and a great hitter, earning comparisons to Babe Ruth.

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