After narrowly avoiding a sweep against the Houston Astros — thanks in large part to some late inning heroics by Shohei Ohtani — the Los Angeles Angels now head to Arlington to face the Texas Rangers. Joe Maddon revealed his tentative starters for the three-game set with Ohtani set to take the mound on Monday.
While that appears set in stone, there is less clarity surrounding whether or not he will be in the lineup to hit as well. This will be Ohtani’s third pitching start, and he was in the lineup for one of the previous two. Maddon recently said that he’ll discuss the situation with Ohtani before deciding.
The Angels manager has now said that Ohtani wants to hit and pitch, and that he’s going to try to make it work with the pieces they have, according to Jack Harris of The L.A. Times:
Now, the Angels’ rotation turns over to Ohtani, who will get the start Monday and could also hit in the game, a decision Maddon said is only complicated by the Angels’ short bench.
“He’s not shying away from anything,” Maddon said of Ohtani. “He is attacking everything on his plate. Tomorrow he wants to pitch and hit, and I’m going to try to figure that out. He wants the action. He wants to be there when it matters.”
With Anthony Rendon, Max Stassi, Juan Lagares, and potentially Mike Trout’s statuses all unclear for Monday’s game, it’s going to be difficult to field enough players to pinch hit once Ohtani is removed from the game. This may be the only complication with Ohtani wanting to play both sides.
Once those players are either in the lineup or ruled out, it will give some additional help to Maddon as he tries to figure out how to give his star two-way player what he wants. Ohtani is never going to shy away from playing as much as possible. It’s one of the things that makes him such a great player and an important piece of the Angels future.
Ohtani will not be a part of normal left field rotation
The Angels got a look at Ohtani in the outfield during a blowout loss to the Astros. While Maddon is confident that he could play the position regularly if needed, he doesn’t see that being a part of the team’s long term plans.