- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Shohei Ohtani has made waves over the first half of the season as a pitcher and hitter, developing into a rare two-way star at the highest level of baseball.

And in the All-Star Game on July 13, Ohtani will bring that two-way talent to the Midsummer Classic. Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon said Ohtani will hit and pitch during the game, held at Coors Field in Colorado, according to MLB.com. Ohtani is still expected to compete in the Home Run Derby, too.

The main consideration for Ohtani’s All-Star Game usage is which inning he’ll pitch. Maddon said he spoke with Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash, the American League team’s skipper, and confirmed Cash plans to use Ohtani on the mound and at the plate.

“The conclusion is that he will pitch, but how it’s going to happen has not been concluded,” Maddon said, via MLB.com. “There’s different ways to do it, obviously. He could start the game or come in game-in-progress. And how often do you hit him? And don’t forget he’ll be in the Home Run Derby the day before. There’s a lot going on there. But Shohei is into it. It’s not like we’re trying to push him into doing anything. We’re just trying to figure out the best way to do it.”

The 27-year-old has already made history, becoming the first player to make the All-Star Game roster as a pitcher and hitter. He holds a 3.60 ERA in his 60 innings on the mound this season, and Ohtani has raked at the plate.

Entering Tuesday, Ohtani had an MLB-high 31 homers to go with a .277 batting average and 1.058 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. Ohtani recently became the first player to reach 30 homers and 10 stolen bases in the first 81 games of the season, and his 31st homer tied Hideki Matsui’s record for the most hit in an MLB season by a Japanese-born player.

• Andy Kostka can be reached at akostka@washingtontimes.com.

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