The regular season debut of prized Japanese signing Shohei Ohtani could take place as a hitter.
Ohtani, 23, made the roster of the Angels officially being added following Tuesday’s exhibition game against the Dodgers.
The surprising news was not that Ohtani made the club, but that manager Mike Scioscia has him scheduled to pitch on Sunday in Oakland. That means that the Angels have Ohtani lined up as their number four starter behind the likes of Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs and Matt Shoemaker. With the Angels currently planning to employ a six-man rotation, Ohtani could make his home debut the following week against the same A’s team.
All of this news leaves open the possibility that Ohtani could appear as either a DH or a pinch hitter prior to taking the mound for the Angels. Ohtani was just 3-for-28 this spring for a .107 average with scouts questioning his approach and development as a hitter.
Ohtani also offered concerns for the Angels on the mound, but the team believes he will do better than the 27.00 ERA he posted in his two big-league spring training games that lasted a total of 2 2/3 innings and featured eight earned runs allowed including three home runs.