As he gets set to start the game as a two-way player, here are three ways Shohei Ohtani can make history on Sunday night.
Shohei Ohtani made his 13th career pitching appearance on Sunday night against the Chicago White Sox. He was also in the lineup as a hitter, hitting second in the Angels lineup, becoming just the third pitcher to hit for himself with the DH available since 1976. And Ohtani was the first in that span to do so without a lineup card error or it being an interleague game.
The Angels expected to see a new version of Ohtani in 2021, further removed from Tommy John surgery and as he changed his diet and workout regimen during the offseason. Still, the idea he’d be a two-way player on a day he started on the mound felt far off.
On Saturday, the Angels’ general plan for Ohtani to not be in the lineup on the day before he pitches went away. He usually gets a day off the day right after his outings too, but depending on how he feels after pitching Sunday night he may be in the lineup Monday. The fact he is strictly a DH is helpful in terms of rest and recovery.
Shohei Ohtani made some history on Sunday night
The first piece of history Ohtani made on Sunday night is an easy one. He hit and pitched in the same game for the first time in his MLB career.
Ohtani hit his 48th career home run on Friday night, tying him with Kenji Johjima for the third-most all-time in the Majors by a Japanese-born player. With another home run Sunday night, Ohtani is now by himself trailing only Hideki Matsui and Ichiro Suzuki.
Since at least 1901, only two players have started a game as a pitcher and batted second without playing another position. Ohtani is now the third.
So despite Ohtani failing to register the win thanks to some scary moments in the fifth inning, he made plenty of history on Sunday night. There’s surely more to come this season.