Shohei Ohtani weighs in on his future as a pitcher
Shohei Ohtani’s status as a two-way player is in real doubt for the first time since he moved to MLB, but the Los Angeles Angels star refuses to give up just yet.
Ohtani was shut down from pitching in 2020 after only two starts due to elbow concerns. Those came on the back of Tommy John surgery, which caused Ohtani to not pitch at all in 2019.
Still, Ohtani affirmed quite clearly on Sunday that his two-way ambitions have not changed.
“I feel the exact same way about being a two-way player as I did in the past,” Ohtani said through an interpreter, via Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com. “I just need to get past me being able to throw without any worries or any setbacks, and once I get through that point, I think everything’s going to fall in place.”
Ohtani is not lacking in confidence. As he alludes to, though, this will depend on how his body responds. Even he knows it’s not a sure thing, judging by some of the backup preparation he’s been engaged in.
Even if Ohtani doesn’t pitch again, he’ll still have ample value as a hitter. The 26-year-old has been a reliable bat in both 2018 and 2019. He struggled in 2020, though, hitting just .190 in 44 games.