Angels prank Ohtani with his walk-up music

Japanese star singles in first at-bat as DH against Rangers

March 11th, 2018

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Even isn't immune from a bit of rookie hazing.
The Angels trolled the two-way phenom by blasting "Fashion Monster" by Japanese pop star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu every time he walked up for an at-bat in their 4-3 win over the Rangers on Sunday at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
Spring Training info
"That's not my actual walk-up song," Ohtani said via translator Ippei Mizuhara. "The guys in the clubhouse were just kind of teasing, playing around with me. It's a long story."
The origin of the prank is unclear, and manager Mike Scioscia feigned ignorance when asked if the song had been of his choosing.
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"I have no idea what you're talking about," Scioscia said coyly.
Making his sixth Cactus League appearance as a hitter, Ohtani served as the DH and batted eighth on Sunday. He went 1-for-3, with a single to right field off veteran in the second inning, a three-pitch strikeout against in the fifth and a groundout to first base in the sixth.
"My timing was a little bit off once again," said Ohtani, who is now 2-for-14 this spring. "But it's just another learning experience."
Ohtani is scheduled to make his next start on the mound on Friday in a Cactus League game against the Rockies. Ohtani's previous two starts had come in "B" games against Minor League competition.
Scioscia said Ohtani will DH again on Monday and Tuesday, when the Angels will play an intrasquad game on their scheduled off-day.
Camp battle
Right-hander JC Ramirez appears to be solidifying his hold on a rotation spot after allowing one run over 4 1/3 innings against the Rangers on Sunday. Ramirez surrendered just a solo home run to while walking none and striking out six. He's given up four runs over 9 2/3 innings (3.72 ERA) in three Cactus League starts.
"I thought JC was great," Scioscia said. "Mixed all his pitches up. Good slider and curveball to go along with a really live fastball today. Outside of the one breaking ball Mazara hit, it was a heck of an outing."
Ramirez threw 64 pitches, with first-pitch strikes against 11 of the 15 batters he faced, and he became the first Angels starter to pitch into the fifth inning. Ramirez said he's trying to pitch more to contact and become more efficient this season.

"I tried to be like a contact pitcher," Ramirez said. "I want to get more innings with less pitches. That's my goal, to try to throw strikes, to get them out. I think it worked for me. If you remember in the past, I was kind of a wild pitcher and now my focus is to throw strikes."
Ramirez's health had been a question mark, as he underwent stem-cell therapy to treat a partially torn ulnar collateral in his right elbow last summer. But he said he feels normal and has shown no ill effects from the injury so far. He likely has an edge over and Nick Tropeano in the rotation battle.
"I'm always confident in myself," Ramirez said. "In my mind, I'm trying to be the No. 1. Around me, I see a lot of guys, but for me, it's just me there. I take the mound for me, it's my game. It's my time, just JC."
Injury updates
Shortstop (left shoulder strain) resumed throwing on Sunday, though he is not expected to pick up a bat until after Tuesday's off-day. Outfielder Chris Young (right calf strain) and infielder (right groin tightness) have started taking batting practice and they could get some at-bats in Tuesday's intrasquad game. Infielder (right shoulder inflammation) has not played since Feb. 27, but the Angels hope he'll be able to resume throwing in the next couple days. Fontana could also hit on Tuesday.
Sunday's moves
The Angels optioned outfielder and right-hander to Triple-A Salt Lake and optioned to Double-A Mobile. Relievers and were also reassigned to Minor League camp following Sunday's game.
Up next
Watch live on MLB.TV as right-hander will make his fourth Cactus League start at 1:10 p.m. PT on Monday as the Angels take on the Reds at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Richards has looked sharp this spring, allowing two runs over nine innings while walking two and striking out 12.