Shohei Ohtani has had quite the week.
After leading Team Japan to the World Baseball Classic finals and defeating Team USA, he arrived back at Los Angels Camp to throw a bullpen session.
When asked if his experience in the tournament improved his notoriety or not, Ohtani didn’t appear to notice a difference.
“Whether I played in the classic or not, the way I was going to approach the season’s not going to change, but having to experience that atmosphere, in that sense, it did help me,” Ohtani told the media on Friday, via his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara.
Ohtani sounds off after his outing 🔊@Angels | #LAASpring pic.twitter.com/YddNfvtGyP
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It also showed on social media.
The two-way phenom gained almost 2.5 million followers on Instagram during the World Baseball Classic, an overall 101% increase in his total following across platforms.
But, on to baseball.
Shohei Ohtani finished his day throwing in a minor-league game on the backfields against the Arizona Diamondbacks. In true fashion, he struck out eight and walked one — giving up four hits in 4 2/3 innings. At one point, retiring 10 batters in a row.
It’s a way to ramp him back up in his pitches to get him prepared as the Angels’ Opening Day starter.
At this point of the season, pitchers aren’t concentrating on their fastballs necessarily, but fine-tuning their secondary pitches. It was no different for Ohtani.
“The theme today was to get up to my pitch count, get used to the pitch clock again, and using the PitchCom, and my off-speed pitches,” Ohtani said. “I feel like I was able to accomplish that.”
The WBC did not have the newly implemented 2023 rules put forth by the league.
Fellow Angels pitcher Patrick Sandoval, who pitched for Team Mexico during the WBC, will also be following a similar routine on Sunday.