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Angels satisfied with Ohtani's medical report

Eppler says October PRP injection was 'preventative' procedure
MLB.com @mi_guardado

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Angels general manager Billy Eppler confirmed on Tuesday that Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his right elbow in October, which Eppler described as a "preventative" measure taken by Ohtani's former Japanese club, the Nippon-Ham Fighters.

Eppler said Ohtani's procedure was mentioned in the medical report distributed by Major League Baseball and was not triggered by any kind of elbow discomfort, though Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported afterward that Ohtani has a "first-degree sprain" in his right ulnar collateral ligament, which is the least severe of UCL injuries, but could eventually lead to Tommy John surgery. A physical obtained by Yahoo Sports said Ohtani, who also has a "small free body" floating near his UCL, should still be able to participate in baseball activities with proper elbow care.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Angels general manager Billy Eppler confirmed on Tuesday that Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his right elbow in October, which Eppler described as a "preventative" measure taken by Ohtani's former Japanese club, the Nippon-Ham Fighters.

Eppler said Ohtani's procedure was mentioned in the medical report distributed by Major League Baseball and was not triggered by any kind of elbow discomfort, though Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported afterward that Ohtani has a "first-degree sprain" in his right ulnar collateral ligament, which is the least severe of UCL injuries, but could eventually lead to Tommy John surgery. A physical obtained by Yahoo Sports said Ohtani, who also has a "small free body" floating near his UCL, should still be able to participate in baseball activities with proper elbow care.

Buy Ohtani gear

:: Shohei Ohtani coverage ::

"He underwent a thorough physical with MRI scans to both his elbow and shoulder," Eppler told MLB.com. "Scans that we conduct whenever we sign a pitcher. Based on the readings of the MRIs there are no signs of acute or new trauma in the elbow. His elbow looked consistent with pitchers at his age and usage level. We were pleased with the results of the physical and we are happy to have the player."

Ohtani also underwent a physical examination at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles on Thursday before agreeing to sign with the Angels.

Some Major League pitchers have been able to pitch through partial UCL tears without requiring elbow surgery, including Ohtani's countryman, Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, and new Angels teammate Garrett Richards, who received a stem-cell injection to help regenerate his damaged elbow ligament last year.

The Angels clearly still felt comfortable going after Ohtani, who received a $2.315 million signing bonus after agreeing to a Minor League contract over the weekend. The club will also pay a $20 million posting fee to the Fighters, but the overall cost is still minimal for a player of Ohtani's caliber.

Hot Stove Tracker

Given Ohtani's potential to impact the rotation and lineup next season, the Angels are discussing other preventative steps to ease the 23-year-old's transition to the 162-game schedule in the Majors. (In Japan, clubs play 146 games and typically have Mondays off.)

Video: Eppler joins MLB Tonight to discuss Ohtani signing

Eppler said Ohtani will not hit on days he pitches, unless the team is playing in a National League park. The Angels are also seriously considering adopting a six-man rotation next season, a concept that intrigued Eppler even before the Ohtani signing.

"We've given a ton of thought to it," Eppler said. "A lot."

The Angels' current stable of starters with options, the four additional off-days granted by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and a desire to mirror Ohtani's once-a-week pitching schedule in Japan are a few reasons why Eppler believes a six-man rotation would be more feasible in 2018.

An expanded rotation would also be a logical way to manage Ohtani's workload in his first full season in the Majors. Ohtani has never pitched more than 160 2/3 innings in a single season, and Eppler said the Angels do not foresee him making 33 starts, the number accrued by most pitchers in a five-man rotation in a year.

Video: Fantasy 411 predicts Ohtani's innings with Angels

Still, the rest of the Angels' starters might not be as enthused about the possibility of a six-man rotation, which would disrupt their routines between starts and could also carry financial implications for players due to the overall reduction in innings. Richards will be entering his final season before free agency, while Matt Shoemaker, Tyler Skaggs, Andrew Heaney and JC Ramirez are eligible for arbitration, a process that considers figures like innings pitched when determining raises in salary.

Asked how he would respond to possible resistance from other starters, Eppler said he would have conversations with players and point to medical research touting the potential health benefits of a six-man rotation. That could prove to be a key selling point, as the Angels' rotation has been hampered by injuries over the past two seasons, with Richards, Heaney, Skaggs, Shoemaker, Ramirez and Nick Tropeano all spending significant time on the disabled list in 2017.

Video: On High Heat, Mike Scioscia discusses the Angels

"I can tell you medically that I've had reputable doctors and biomechanists say that a six-man would be advantageous," Eppler said. "And when we're rehabilitating players, they bring up a six-man and the merits behind that.

"If you wanted to have a 10-, 12-, 15-year career, what would you want your employer to be mindful of? Your health," he continued. "We're tasked with doing what we feel is best for the long-term health of our players. That's an important thing to me. You're striking the core of my DNA. I'm not putting players at risk. And if there's a methodology that can help players out, we're going to present it to them, because I feel I have a moral responsibility to that."

If the Angels choose not to adopt a six-man rotation, Eppler said Ohtani's innings could also be kept in check by occasionally skipping his turns in a five-man rotation. A blend between the two configurations is also a possibility.

Eppler said he intends to consult his coaching, front office and performance staffs before making a decision, which he expects to come before Spring Training.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Los Angeles Angels

Angels may use Ohtani in 6-man rotation

Club ponders options to maximize two-way star's impact
MLB.com @mi_guardado

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- With Shohei Ohtani in tow, one of the questions the Angels are now weighing this offseason is whether a six-man rotation would be the best way to fold the Japanese two-way star into the Majors next year.

General manager Billy Eppler is open to the possibility, though he has not yet broached the idea of an expanded rotation to the rest of his starters. Eppler said he expects a decision to be made before pitchers and catchers report to Tempe, Ariz., on Feb. 13 for the start of Spring Training.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- With Shohei Ohtani in tow, one of the questions the Angels are now weighing this offseason is whether a six-man rotation would be the best way to fold the Japanese two-way star into the Majors next year.

General manager Billy Eppler is open to the possibility, though he has not yet broached the idea of an expanded rotation to the rest of his starters. Eppler said he expects a decision to be made before pitchers and catchers report to Tempe, Ariz., on Feb. 13 for the start of Spring Training.

Buy Ohtani gear

:: Shohei Ohtani coverage ::

"If we, in fact, go that route, I will have conversations with them," Eppler said Monday during Day 1 of MLB's Winter Meetings.

A six-man rotation would be an attractive option for the Angels for a few reasons. First, the configuration would be more similar the one Ohtani experienced with the Nippon-Ham Fighters in Japan, where pitchers take the mound every seven days instead of the traditional five-day cycle in the Majors.

Injuries have ravaged the Angels' rotation the last two seasons, so an extra day of rest could also help keep the rest of the club's starters healthy, including Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs, Andrew Heaney, Matt Shoemaker, Nick Tropeano and JC Ramirez.

Ohtani missed most of this past season with a right ankle injury, and the 23-year-old has never pitched more than 160 2/3 innings over a single season in Nippon Professional Baseball, which has a 146-game schedule. Ohtani underwent surgery on his ankle in October, but Eppler said the 23-year-old is not expected to face any restrictions come Spring Training.

Video: Angels, fans welcome Ohtani for the very first time

One challenge of moving to a six-man rotation would be that the Angels would have room for one less position player on their bench, as Eppler said he would like to maintain a seven-man bullpen. Such a scenario could prompt the Angels to prioritize players with more positional flexibility this offseason.

"I always put a premium on flexibility, but the utility of that is a little bit more evident right now," Eppler said.

One potential free-agent target for the Angels could be infielder Eduardo Nunez, a right-handed hitter who could platoon with Luis Valbuena at third base as well as play second and shortstop. Nunez, 30, batted .313 with an .801 OPS and 12 home runs over 114 games with the Giants and the Red Sox last season, though he missed time with a hamstring injury.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Los Angeles Angels

Trout gets married in a winter wonderland

Mike Trout has had quite the past few days. On Friday, Shohei Ohtani announced that he would be joining him in the Angels' lineup (and rotation) next season. And that was just the appetizer: Trout also got married over the weekend, and if the first wedding photo is any indication, it was magical.

Eppler lauds staff for tireless pursuit of Ohtani

Angels' front office got 'locked in' to land two-way star
MLB.com @mi_guardado

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Shohei Ohtani chase sparked a full mobilization of the Angels' front office and led to a few sleep-deprived nights for general manager Billy Eppler, whose efforts were rewarded last week when Ohtani chose to come to Anaheim after drawing fervid interest from around the league.

Eppler said many of his lieutenants had to cut their Thanksgiving holidays short in order to help craft the Angels' written response to the questionnaire distributed by Ohtani's agency, CAA, which asked clubs to describe how the two-way phenom would fit into their organizations. On two occasions, Eppler said he stayed up until 3 or 4 in the morning texting assistant general manager Jonathan Strangio to review the final edits for the document.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Shohei Ohtani chase sparked a full mobilization of the Angels' front office and led to a few sleep-deprived nights for general manager Billy Eppler, whose efforts were rewarded last week when Ohtani chose to come to Anaheim after drawing fervid interest from around the league.

Eppler said many of his lieutenants had to cut their Thanksgiving holidays short in order to help craft the Angels' written response to the questionnaire distributed by Ohtani's agency, CAA, which asked clubs to describe how the two-way phenom would fit into their organizations. On two occasions, Eppler said he stayed up until 3 or 4 in the morning texting assistant general manager Jonathan Strangio to review the final edits for the document.

Buy Ohtani gear

:: Shohei Ohtani coverage ::

"Thank God he's an English major," Eppler said.

The Angels learned they had made it past the first round around 11:15 a.m. PT last Sunday and were told they would have the opportunity to make a two-hour presentation to Ohtani the following night at 7. Eppler said he slept only three and a half hours as he and his team scrambled to prepare their pitch.

"Nothing about this was standard," Eppler said. "My whole group locked in. Everybody was all hands on deck. They worked their tails off so that we could make this a reality."

While the Angels are willing to accommodate Ohtani's desire to become a two-way standout in the Majors, Eppler said they made no long-term guarantees regarding his future as both a right-handed pitcher and left-handed-hitting slugger.

"Right now we're going to bring him in and he's going to do both," Eppler said. "Let's just see where it goes. We don't make any promises. But he knows our position at the outset, and he knows our commitment to his development. We know he's not a finished product."

Worth noting

• The Angels would like to add a fourth outfielder to back up Justin Upton, Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun, though Eppler said his staff is still debating whether they should target a particular handedness of hitter for the opening.

They have bolstered their internal outfield depth by signing right-handed-hitting outfielder and former top prospect Rymer Liriano to a Minor League contract. Liriano, 26, has batted .220 with a .580 OPS in 150 career plate appearances in the Majors. He appeared in 21 games for the White Sox last season.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Los Angeles Angels

Angels put 3 items up for bids in WM auction

MLB.com @mi_guardado

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- For the sixth consecutive year, the Angels will take part in the Winter Meetings charity auction, an annual fundraiser that will support the Katharine Feeney Memorial Scholarship Fund this year, which is in memory of the late pioneering baseball executive whose career spanned 40 years.

Major League Baseball, MLB Advanced Media, MLB Network and all 30 teams will offer special baseball experiences and unique items to benefit the cause. The Angels are offering supporters the chance to bid on three items: a meet and greet with superstar center fielder Mike Trout and manager Mike Scioscia; a Spring Training experience; and the opportunity to throw a ceremonial first pitch at Angel Stadium.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- For the sixth consecutive year, the Angels will take part in the Winter Meetings charity auction, an annual fundraiser that will support the Katharine Feeney Memorial Scholarship Fund this year, which is in memory of the late pioneering baseball executive whose career spanned 40 years.

Major League Baseball, MLB Advanced Media, MLB Network and all 30 teams will offer special baseball experiences and unique items to benefit the cause. The Angels are offering supporters the chance to bid on three items: a meet and greet with superstar center fielder Mike Trout and manager Mike Scioscia; a Spring Training experience; and the opportunity to throw a ceremonial first pitch at Angel Stadium.

• Team-by-team look at auction items

The Katharine Feeney Memorial Scholarship Fund will support an annual scholarship that will be awarded to a female student at the University of San Francisco who most exemplifies Feeney's character. Eligible candidates for the scholarship will be students who are pursuing a career in sports management and demonstrate a need for financial aid.

The auction will run at MLB.com/wintermeetingsauction until 7 p.m. PT on Thursday.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Los Angeles Angels, Mike Trout

Angels officially welcome 2-way star Ohtani

Japanese rookie says he felt strong connection with club
MLB.com @mi_guardado

ANAHEIM -- Even as he emerged as the most sought-after free agent of this offseason and sparked a captivating courtship that lured most Major League clubs, there remained an air of mystery around Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani.

His unique skills as a two-way player were well-documented, but little else was known about the enigmatic 23-year-old, who left much of the baseball world guessing about his preferences and surprised many when his agency announced Friday that he had chosen to sign with the Angels over higher-profile teams such as the Dodgers or Yankees.

ANAHEIM -- Even as he emerged as the most sought-after free agent of this offseason and sparked a captivating courtship that lured most Major League clubs, there remained an air of mystery around Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani.

His unique skills as a two-way player were well-documented, but little else was known about the enigmatic 23-year-old, who left much of the baseball world guessing about his preferences and surprised many when his agency announced Friday that he had chosen to sign with the Angels over higher-profile teams such as the Dodgers or Yankees.

Get your Ohtani jersey

:: Shohei Ohtani coverage ::

But on a warm Saturday afternoon, the mysterious veneer began to crack as Ohtani was officially introduced during a press conference at Angel Stadium that drew hundreds of fans who crowded in front of the ballpark to get their first look at the Angels' newest star.

"Hi, my name is Shohei Ohtani," he said in perfect English after receiving a red Angels jersey from owner Arte Moreno.

Ohtani made the rest of his comments via his interpreter, Matt Hidaka, though he continued to charm the crowd with ease, expressing his gratitude to Angels personnel, his family and CAA representatives and concluding his opening remarks by congratulating new teammate Mike Trout on his marriage.

When he was asked later why he chose to wear No. 17, Ohtani drew laughs by quipping, "I actually wanted No. 27, but somebody else was wearing that number." (Trout wears No. 27.)

Ohtani joked he wanted Trout's number

It's clear that Ohtani already has the aura of a star, which the Angels hope will carry over to the Majors.

"This is a historic day for our organization," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Every player, to a man, is so excited about this acquisition. I think that our job, and we have a lot of work ahead of us, is to see exactly how you get a multi-dimensional, two-way athlete like Shohei to bring his talent to the field often enough to where he leads us to that championship… His ability both on the field and in the batter's box is something that doesn't come along -- it really never comes along. So our excitement is very, very high."

Hot Stove Tracker

While Ohtani enticed teams around baseball with his dual profile as a right-handed pitcher and a left-handed slugger, he said he felt a special connection with the Angels, who made their pitch to him during a two-hour presentation at the CAA offices in Los Angeles on Monday night.

During the meeting, general manager Billy Eppler and the rest of the Angels' delegation laid out a detailed plan for how they intended to accommodate Ohtani's desire to be a two-way player in the Majors over a full season. Eppler said Scioscia made Ohtani laugh with his brand of self-deprecating humor, while Trout, who was on the East Coast preparing for his wedding, also joined the recruitment effort by calling in via FaceTime to tell Ohtani about the merits of the organization and the Angels' clubhouse.

Ohtani greeted with a red carpet

Video: Angels GM Eppler on why he pursued Ohtani for club

"It's hard to explain," said Ohtani, who received a $2.315 million signing bonus and is under team control for at least six years, like any other prospect. "With the Angels, I just felt something click. I'm just glad to make this choice."

Ohtani met with Eppler and his team again on Thursday night, when he received a tour of Angel Stadium and asked more questions, an experience Ohtani said helped affirm his desire to come to Anaheim.

"I just wanted to reconfirm what they had presented on Monday and reconfirm my feeling toward the Angels' brass," Ohtani said. "I wanted to get that feeling again and make sure that this was the right call."

Eppler said the Angels will now work with Ohtani and his former trainers in Japan to develop a more precise framework for their two-way plan.

Ohtani wants a nickname

"When we sat down with Shohei, we presented a plan," Eppler said. "I don't want to say that that plan gets ripped up, but I bet you that a large portion of that plan now gets modified because it was from a one-party perspective, and now we have two parties."

Eppler said he is open to adopting a six-man rotation, which would more closely mimic the structure Ohtani experienced in Japan, where pitchers start once a week. Shifting to a six-man rotation could not only help ease Ohtani's transition to the Majors, but it could also benefit the rest of the Angels' starters who have struggled with injuries the past couple of years, including Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney, Tyler Skaggs, Matt Shoemaker and Nick Tropeano.

Video: Callis discusses Ohtani's prospect attributes

Eppler also said Ohtani will not be used in the outfield, which he has not played since 2014 in Japan. The Angels expect to use Ohtani as a part-time designated hitter, an arrangement that would ostensibly require Albert Pujols to play more first base next season. Though Pujols played the field only six times in 2017, he is in the midst of his first surgery-free winter in two years, which the Angels believe will allow him to improve his conditioning for next season.

"Albert is full-blown into his winter workout," Scioscia said. "He definitely feels he's got the ability to go out there and play first base on a basis that will have Shohei get the at-bats that are warranted as soon as we decide on what the usage is going to be."

Still, there is no modern blueprint for what Ohtani will attempt to do next season. Only three players have started 15 games in the field and on the mound in a single season since 1900: Ray Caldwell (1918), Babe Ruth ('18 and '19) and Johnny Cooney ('24). And while Ohtani is often called the "Babe Ruth of Japan," he said he feels like he has a long way to go before he reaches that type of stratosphere.

"I'm honored to be compared to Babe Ruth, but in no way do I think I'm at his level," Ohtani said. "I think today actually is the real starting point for me, and I just want to get as close to him as possible."

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Los Angeles Angels

WM offer Halos chance to find finishing touch

Posting fee due to Ohtani's former team won't compromise Angels' ability to add
MLB.com @mi_guardado

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- During the news conference to introduce Shohei Ohtani on Saturday, manager Mike Scioscia relished the impact of landing the Japanese two-way star but also acknowledged that work remains to be done for the Angels and their front office this offseason.

"I know that [general manager] Billy [Eppler] and [owner] Arte [Moreno] aren't done this winter to make our team the well-rounded, championship-caliber team that we can be," Scioscia said. "But getting Shohei here is obviously a tremendous boost to where we want to end up."

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- During the news conference to introduce Shohei Ohtani on Saturday, manager Mike Scioscia relished the impact of landing the Japanese two-way star but also acknowledged that work remains to be done for the Angels and their front office this offseason.

"I know that [general manager] Billy [Eppler] and [owner] Arte [Moreno] aren't done this winter to make our team the well-rounded, championship-caliber team that we can be," Scioscia said. "But getting Shohei here is obviously a tremendous boost to where we want to end up."

• Angels officially welcome 2-way star Ohtani

Eppler and his staff will look to continue to improve their roster at this week's Winter Meetings which last through the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday.

Video: Eppler has the most pressure at the Winter Meetings

The Angels have already made a few notable acquisitions this offseason aside from winning the Ohtani sweepstakes, re-signing left fielder Justin Upton and adding veteran reliever Jim Johnson to their bullpen.

Video: Ohtani ready to sizzle with Trout, Pujols and Upton

Los Angeles' main priority at the Winter Meetings will be hunting for a second baseman, though it could also seek a corner infielder to shore up the offense and explore the market for pitching help. The Angels had been connected to a few free-agent first basemen, but their focus could shift to third base with the expectation that Albert Pujols will play more first next season to clear the way for Ohtani to be a part-time designated hitter.

Hot Stove Tracker

While the Angels will have to pay Ohtani's former Japanese club a $20 million posting fee, Eppler said he doesn't expect the expenditure to have a "compromising" effect on the club's budget this offseason.

Eppler 'stunned' by Ohtani choosing Angels

Video: Angels GM Eppler on why he pursued Ohtani for club

"Just continue to improve the ballclub," Eppler said Saturday when asked to describe his goals for the Winter Meetings. "Look to add offense if I can, and if there's avenue to help in run prevention -- whether that's on the mound, or whether that's through a player that's more defense-oriented -- I've got to be open-minded to that as well."

Scioscia will hold court with the media on Wednesday at 12 p.m. PT to discuss the outlook for the Angels' 2018 season and other topics of interest. Stay tuned to angels.com for news every day from the Winter Meetings.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Los Angeles Angels

Ohtani joked that he wanted Trout's number

Turns out, Shohei Ohtani isn't just a talented pitcher, outfielder and hitter. He's got another skill, too: Telling jokes. Is there anything he can't do?

At his Angels unveiling on Saturday, Ohtani donned his new No. 17 Angels jersey, but explained that it wasn't his first choice.

Eppler 'stunned' by Ohtani choosing Angels

'It was a pretty remarkable moment,' GM says of learning two-way star's decision
MLB.com @mi_guardado

ANAHEIM -- General manager Billy Eppler quite literally fell out of his chair when he received a call Friday morning informing him that Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani wanted to sign with the Angels.

Earlier in the day, Ohtani's agent, Nez Balelo of CAA, had called to tell Eppler that a decision could be coming soon, albeit at an unpredictable moment.

ANAHEIM -- General manager Billy Eppler quite literally fell out of his chair when he received a call Friday morning informing him that Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani wanted to sign with the Angels.

Earlier in the day, Ohtani's agent, Nez Balelo of CAA, had called to tell Eppler that a decision could be coming soon, albeit at an unpredictable moment.

Get your Ohtani jersey

"It might be today, it might be tomorrow," Balelo said. "It might be 10 days from now."

:: Shohei Ohtani coverage ::

An hour and a half later, at 11 a.m. PT, Eppler's phone buzzed again. On the other end was CAA's main line. Eppler, who was in assistant general manager Jonathan Strangio's office at Angel Stadium, immediately shut the door.

"Hey, there's one last thing I forgot to tell you," Balelo said.

"What's that?" Eppler asked.

"It's that Shohei Ohtani wants to be an Angel."

Strangio put his face in his hands and rested his head on his desk. Eppler stood up, tried to sit back down, and missed.

"I whiffed," Eppler said. "I fell all the way to the ground. There's so much adrenaline pumping at that moment, I didn't feel it.

"I was just stunned. It was a pretty remarkable moment."

Knowing that Balelo would soon be releasing a statement to the media, Eppler quickly phoned owner Arte Moreno to tell him the good news. Outside Strangio's office, the rest of the Angels' front office staff gathered and began clapping and cheering.

Video: Shohei Ohtani describes his excitement to join Angels

For Eppler, it represented the culmination of a journey that had begun four years ago, when he first saw Ohtani play for the Nippon-Ham Fighters during his rookie season in Japan.

"There was a wow factor to him," said Eppler, who estimated that he personally scouted Ohtani about 10 times since 2013. "He was a little bit of a showstopper. Big fastball, the ability to throw three offspeed pitches for strikes, get swings and misses. And he had a presence in the batter's box that we gravitated to."

Justice: Ohtani, Trout make Halos 'must see'

While Eppler continued to monitor Ohtani's development from afar, the two didn't meet in person until Monday night, when the Angels made a two-hour presentation to the 23-year-old in Los Angeles as part of the league-wide recruitment process organized by CAA. Eppler noted that manager Mike Scioscia brought some levity to the meeting by making Ohtani laugh, but he took away no other clues regarding the impression of their pitch.

"I don't want to liken this to a job interview or an episode of 'The Bachelorette,' but you really have no read," Eppler said. "I likened it a lot to how it felt going through the GM interview process. You don't know the impression that you made, but you're all hands on deck and you're ready to jump through hoops next time we want to meet."

Video: Scioscia talks about how he plans to use Ohtani

On Thursday night, Ohtani met with Eppler and his staff again and toured Angel Stadium. Ohtani's questions seemed to be more specific this time around, but Eppler still did not allow himself to become optimistic.

"I tried to keep myself in the moment," Eppler said.

When the wait finally ended the following morning, Eppler said he felt a level of elation that was comparable to only two other milestones in his life: his wedding and the birth of his son.

The jubilation soon spread to other Angels players. Soon after he heard the news, catcher Martin Maldonado immediately requested that video from all of Ohtani's games from 2015-16 be sent to his iPad. The Angels' front office complied.

Eppler also received a call from Mike Trout, who was with many of his teammates on the East Coast as he prepared for his wedding this weekend.

Trout put Eppler on speaker and said, "Let them all hear it, let them all hear it. Did we get him?"

"Yeah, we got him," Eppler said.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Los Angeles Angels

Angels will be MLB's must-see team in 2018

Two-way Japanese star Ohtani joins Trout, Pujols on star-studded squad
MLB.com @RichardJustice

This is what happens when you put Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout together: You have baseball's most interesting team. Say hello to your 2018 Los Angeles Angels.

To an Angels team already poised to get significantly better, we will now be able to watch the best baseball player of this generation line up beside the most intriguing player of 2018.

This is what happens when you put Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout together: You have baseball's most interesting team. Say hello to your 2018 Los Angeles Angels.

To an Angels team already poised to get significantly better, we will now be able to watch the best baseball player of this generation line up beside the most intriguing player of 2018.

:: Shohei Ohtani coverage ::

That's the bottom line from a day in which Ohtani announced he would sign with the Angels and attempt to do something no Major League player has done in 99 years.

We do not know if this great experiment will work, and that's one of the coolest parts of this whole deal. Once Babe Ruth played his final season with the Red Sox in 1919, he basically was done with being a two-way player.

No one has done it since.

Until now.

Ohtani is 23 years old, a right-handed pitcher and left-handed hitter. His fastball averaged 98 mph in 2017 for the Nippon-Ham Fighters.

Let's pause for a moment right there.

There's a certain unknown quantity in Ohtani's ability to both pitch and hit. Actually, there's a certain unknown quantity in every part of his game as he makes the transition from Japan to the Major Leagues.

But there's no unknown about the quality of his skillset. MLB.com's Mike Petriello used Statcast™ data to compare Ohtani's pitch velocity to that of Aroldis Chapman, Nathan Eovaldi and Noah Syndergaard. And in terms of velocity and spin rate, Ohtani's fastball is almost identical to that of Luis Severino.

Ohtani topped out at 102 mph -- one evaluation had him at 103 mph -- and that alone would make him the most-watched pitcher next season.

And then there's the bat.

Petriello studied Ohtani's exit velocity and found it comparable to Freddie Freeman's and Yoenis Cespedes'. If those are your two best comparisons as a hitter, you're in pretty good shape.

Video: Justice on Ohtani's influence as a two-way player

Again, there are differences in the quality of pitching Ohtani will be facing, the number of games, etc. But the bottom line is we simply haven't seen a player with a chance to do these two very different things at a high level.

No one knows how it will work out. Will he pitch on Monday, take Tuesday off and then incorporate his daily between-start pitching preparation into work as a designated hitter, first baseman or outfielder?

Plenty of people in and around the game aren't sure a player can do both. They see the work that a Max Scherzer or Clayton Kershaw puts in between starts and wonder how a guy would then be able to play a nine-inning game unless it's as a DH.

All we know for sure is that the Angels -- just like every team that met with Ohtani -- convinced him they were willing to try. The Rangers and Mariners had more money to offer, but the Angels had the better sales pitch. In Mike Scioscia, the Angels have a manager who has a long history of getting the best from his players. If there's a way to make this thing work, Scioscia will figure it out.

If you love this sport, this is the kind of day you live for. To put Trout, who is on track to be one of the 10 best players ever, alongside Ohtani will be something every baseball fan will want to see.

If you have seen video of Ohtani, you probably noticed that he carries himself the way the great ones do. You've probably also noticed that he seems unfazed by the cameras and microphones, that he has been covered so intensely for so long that the attention he'll garner next spring will be no big deal.

Video: Justice discusses Ohtani's impact on the Angels

The Angels were already optimistic about their team. General manager Billy Eppler has already re-signed outfielder Justin Upton and added veteran reliever Jim Johnson.

Eppler has a second baseman at the top of his to-do list, but if Garrett Richards, Matt Shoemaker, Tyler Skaggs and Andrew Heaney can stay healthy, the Angels may be good enough to compete with almost anyone.

Have they made up the 21 games they finished behind the Astros in the American League West last season? Hey, that's why they'll play the games. No team has taken bigger steps in the right direction this offseason. As for the rest of it -- and how this whole thing plays out -- that's the fun part of the deal.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Los Angeles Angels

Ohtani arrives at Angel Stadium with red carpet

After much speculation and an offseason of pursuits, two-way player Shohei Ohtani has agreed to sign with the Angels. Yes, that means he and two-time American League MVP Mike Trout will be teammates. With the decision finally being made, the Angels made sure to greet Ohtani in the best way possible.

Ohtani is asking fans to pick his nickname

Shohei Ohtani is officially a member of the Angels. The team hosted a press conference for the two-way player that was open to the public, and it couldn't have gone better. Ohtani spoke to the media with grace and a bit of humor, but made sure to ask the public for help on an important subject.

Ohtani's presence allows Angels to be creative

Team can rethink rotation, lineup plans with two-way star in mix
MLB.com @mi_guardado

Now that Japanese star Shohei Ohtani has chosen to bring his unique two-way talent to Anaheim, one significant question remains: How will the Angels use the right-handed pitcher/left-handed slugger?

Only four times has a player started 15 games in the field and on the mound in a single season since 1900: Ray Caldwell (1918), Babe Ruth ('18, '19) and Johnny Cooney ('24). Ohtani will aim to become the fifth with the Angels, who are willing to allow the 23-year-old to pursue his goal of becoming a two-way threat in the Majors.

Now that Japanese star Shohei Ohtani has chosen to bring his unique two-way talent to Anaheim, one significant question remains: How will the Angels use the right-handed pitcher/left-handed slugger?

Only four times has a player started 15 games in the field and on the mound in a single season since 1900: Ray Caldwell (1918), Babe Ruth ('18, '19) and Johnny Cooney ('24). Ohtani will aim to become the fifth with the Angels, who are willing to allow the 23-year-old to pursue his goal of becoming a two-way threat in the Majors.

:: Shohei Ohtani coverage ::

Here's how Ohtani might fit in with his new organization:

1. Six-man rotation?

For all his prodigious power, Ohtani's biggest impact for the Angels likely will come in the starting rotation, where he will give the club another top-of-the-rotation arm to pair with fellow right-hander Garrett Richards. Blessed with a fastball that touches 100 mph, Ohtani logged a 1.86 ERA with 174 strikeouts in 140 innings for the Nippon-Ham Fighters in 2016, his last full season in Nippon Professional Baseball. One way the Angels could potentially ease Ohtani's transition to the Majors would be to adopt a six-man rotation, which would be more in line with his routine in Japan, where starters pitch every seven days.

Going to a six-man rotation could be beneficial not only for Ohtani -- who missed most of this past season due to an ankle injury -- but also for the rest of the Angels' starters, most of whom have struggled to stay healthy the past couple of seasons.

2. DH reps

Ohtani is also expected to see time in the Angels' lineup as a part-time designated hitter, giving the club a much-needed left-handed bat to complement right-handed-hitters Mike Trout, Justin Upton and Albert Pujols. It's unclear how often Ohtani will hit in the Majors, though he typically batted three games a week as a DH in Japan. In 2016, Ohtani hit 22 home runs while batting .322/.416/.588 in 382 plate appearances with Nippon-Ham.

"In the batter's box, he does everything that we value," said Angels GM Billy Eppler on the Angels' flagship radio station KLAA AM830. "He makes good decisions, he's got a high degree of plate discipline, and he's got the ability to impact the baseball.

"A pretty special player both in the batters box and on the mound."

Video: Callis discusses Ohtani's prospect attributes

3. Impact on Pujols

Pujols served as the Angels' primary designated hitter in 2017, so any plans to incorporate Ohtani into the DH rotation will require Pujols to play the field or sit out games. Still, the Angels are hopeful Pujols will be able to play more first base next season with the help of a full winter of conditioning. Pujols has undergone foot surgeries the past two years, which prevented him from arriving to Spring Training in optimal shape, but he has already begun a fitness program that the Angels believe could help revitalize the 37-year-old slugger and clear the way for Ohtani to regularly assume the DH spot.

"I think Albert is embracing an entire winter when he can get into a more accustomed offseason routine for him," said Eppler. "I do know Albert likes playing first base. He probably would have played more first base in the last two years, but he didn't really have an opportunity to work out at his accustomed level in the previous two seasons. So he was always showing up to Spring Training with the mindset of getting in better shape.

"I think this winter, we'll just keep an open mind when he shows up to Spring Training and see how much he can handle over there."

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Los Angeles Angels