With pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training in a matter of days, Shohei Ohtani’s schedule has begun to take shape.
The two-way playing phenom will report to Arizona with the rest of his Los Angeles Angels squad and plans to pitch in one Cactus League game, according to MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger. Ohtani then will play for his home country of Japan in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
Ohtani [seen above during a Sept. 29 game against the Oakland A’s] took the MLB world by storm in 2021. There, he became the first two-way player (pitcher and designated hitter) in MLB history with 10-plus home runs, 20-plus stolen bases as a hitter and 100-plus strikeouts, and 10-plus pitcher appearances as a pitcher in the same season. And he was unanimously selected as the AL MVP.
Last season, in his second All-Star select campaign, Ohtani slashed .273/.356/.875 all while striking out 219 batters in 166 innings, and was the runner-up for AL MVP. And the 28-year-old star is just getting started.
Teams representing their countries in the WBC will be filled with MLB talent, including Ohtani’s teammate and 10-time All-Star outfielder Mike Trout, who will be representing Team USA. And just check out the Dominican Republic’s preliminary roster:
🇩🇴WBC NEWS – DR🇩🇴
Per @CDN37, Nelson Cruz (DR’s GM) said that of the 50-man preliminary roster for the Dominican Republic, 18 players have “objections from their MLB teams to participate in the World Baseball Classic.”
There is no word yet on who those 18 players are. pic.twitter.com/Q95xtl3Ri8
— Shawn (@Shawn_Spradling) January 29, 2023
WBC teams will face MLB teams in 20 exhibition games during spring training, beginning March 8.
[Photo from Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA Today Sports]