After some earlier indications it would happen, the Angels have officially unveiled Sunday night’s lineup with Shohei Ohtani going two ways.
To this point, with health in mind and 2019 Tommy John surgery already in his history, the Los Angeles Angels hadn’t had Shohei Ohtani hit and pitch in the same game. On Saturday, manager Joe Maddon suggested it would happen Sunday night against the Chicago White Sox.
Ohtani also told reporters, including MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger, that it was being discussed. He has not been in the lineup during the regular season the day before and the day after his starts. But he was in Saturday’s lineup, and went 1-for-4.
From the beginning of Spring Training we’ve been talking about when I was going to play, and it’s pretty much up to how I’m feeling the day before and the day after,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “So far, I’ve been feeling good, so that’s why I’m in the lineup.”
The Angels unveil historic lineup with Shohei Ohtani as two-way player
Ohtani will start the game on the mound, and hit second between David Fletcher and Mike Trout in the Angels’ lineup.
According to Bollinger, only three other players have hit for themselves with the designated hitter available since Ken Brett did it twice in 1976. Andy Sonnanstine did it in 2009 (due to a lineup card error by Maddon, coincidentally enough), and Madison Bumgarner did it in 2016 for an interleague game at Oakland.
The risk of having Ohtani in the lineup on the day he starts is obvious. If he has a short outing on the mound, then his spot in the lineup becomes a run of pinch hitters or a virtual automatic out if a relief pitcher has to hit. Of course that’s just an average day for a National League team, but it may play out on the Sunday night stage for the Angels.