Shohei Ohtani may be the big-ticket item in Los Angeles Angels camp even with the presence of Mike Trout, the best baseball player on the planet. Part of the intrigue surrounding the two-way Japanese phenom has been built around how the Angels plan on using him.
Manager Mike Scioscia confirmed Tuesday that the team views the 23-year-old primarily as a pitcher and plans to include Ohtani in their new, six-man starting rotation. His use as a batter will be determined by his workload.
"He's going to get the most looks as a pitcher," Scioscia told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. "If he can pitch to his capabilities, that will always influence your team more than what he would do hitting. But that's not to say he won't have a chance to be a difference-maker on the offensive end, too.
"There's a certain novelty to it. You've had Madison Bumgarner swing the bat with the (San Francisco) Giants, but not like we're trying to implement with Shohei. I don't think it's going to be that big of an issue. We need him to pitch. He's a big part of our rotation. Secondary to that, when he has an opportunity to swing the bat, we definitely want to take a look at him."
In five seasons with the Nippon-Ham Fighters of Japanese Professional Baseball's Pacific League, Ohtani went 42-15 with a 2.69 ERA and a 10.3 K/9 over 543 innings. He made 82 starts in 85 appearances over his tenure.
While his spring debut has not been announced, the Angels open up their Cactus League schedule against the Oakland Athletics on Feb. 23.
Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.