Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani will play both ways when Major League Baseball announced the introduction of the 2022 new rule. The new rule will allow him to remain in the lineup as DH following his exit as starting pitcher. Obviously, this is one of the things that the Angels and Ohtani can be thankful for.
“It was my last start before the season opener and I’m glad I got to my pitch count,” Ohtani said to his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara.
“Everything is going really smooth. I’ll definitely throw a bullpen [before Opening Day], but the biggest thing is just getting my recovery and fatigue out of the way. I’ll try to play in as many games as possible in between, get some at-bats and try to balance that out.”
MLB new rules
MLB and Baseball players’ association finalized the rules change to bring back automatic runners in extra innings on Thursday. Despite an easing of pandemic restrictions, the rules agreed to keep the controversial rule that each team will start with the runner on second base during extra innings.
The agreement also includes the number of rosters which will expand from 26 to 28 players from April 7 through May 1.
“The expansion of the designated hitter and giving two-way players enhanced flexibility to showcase their talents will benefit the game for the foreseeable future,” union director of player services Kevin Slowey said in a statement.
“The roster and extra-inning adjustments will also serve to protect the health and safety of players during what will be a unique 2022 season.”
The new rule will benefit the Los Angeles two-way star, Shohei Ohtani. With the DH adopted in both leagues, starting pitchers in the batting order can remain in the game as DH after leaving the mound. A DH will be able to enter the game to pitch.
Shohei Ohtani Opening Day
Ohtani was acquired by the Los Angeles Angels in 2018, following his reward for the Pacific League Most Valuable Player and first Japan Professional Sports Grand Prize in 2016. The MLB 2021 All-Star made his debut at the age of 18 in the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters’ season-opening game on March 29, 2013, playing as a right fielder.
In his rookie years with the Angels, he played in 10 games, hitting 19 earned runs and averaging 3.31. The player underwent Tommy John surgery in 2019, but he started with the Angels again in 2020 where he averaged 37.80.
The Los Angeles manager Joe Maddon said Friday last week that Ohtani is to play on the Opening Day against the visiting Houston Astros on April 7. The Angel’s player will serve as the team DH and continue to hit in the lineup after exiting as a pitcher.
“It just tastes right, feels right, is right,” Maddon said referring to Ohtani 2021 excellence.
Because of the new rule, the 27-year-old is expected to play roughly 30 to 40 more plate appearances compared to last year. He will serve as a lead-off hitter in his star and is expected to build 85 to 95 pitches on the mound.
“That rule is going to be great,” Ohtani said. “I can be aggressive both hitting-and pitching-wise. I don’t have to really think about later on in the game. It’s a good thing.”