Ohtani, Trout win starting spots for AL at ASG

July 9th, 2022

BALTIMORE -- It wouldn’t be a proper All-Star Game without Angels superstars Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. So it was only fitting that both were voted in as starters for this year’s Midsummer Classic at Dodger Stadium on July 19, as announced Friday on ESPN.

It’s the 10th time that Trout has been named an All-Star -- including nine times as a starter -- and the second time for Ohtani, who made history last year when he was selected as both the starter at DH by the fans and voted in as a starting pitcher by the players. Trout joins the Yankees’ Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in the outfield for the American League, while Ohtani edged out Houston’s Yordan Alvarez for the starting nod at DH. Ohtani won’t know if he made the club as a pitcher until the full rosters are announced on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. PT on ESPN. Ohtani also hasn’t decided whether he’ll participate in the Home Run Derby, while Trout said he’s officially out for the event.

"It's a great honor for both of them,” said Angels interim manager Phil Nevin. “It's a credit to them as teammates and players. For me, I'll watch the All-Star Game a little differently, watching my guys. But hopefully we get one or two more."

Ohtani, the reigning AL MVP, had a memorable All-Star experience last year, when he participated in the Home Run Derby, started the game on the mound and served as the leadoff hitter in the AL’s 5-2 win at Coors Field. He remains a candidate to pitch the first inning for a second straight year, but other options could include Houston’s Justin Verlander or Tampa Bay’s Shane McClanahan.

“I had a lot of fun last year, but I’m looking to have more fun this year,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “I’m honestly very honored and very thankful for the fans voting me in. I think it’s going to lead to more motivation for me to play better.”

Ohtani, 28, has been putting together another incredible season both at the plate and on the mound. He entered Friday hitting .257/.343/.490 with 18 homers, 15 doubles, 10 stolen bases and 53 RBIs in 81 games, while also going 8-4 with a 2.44 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 81 innings. He’s been on a tear recently, going 5-0 with a 0.27 ERA over his last five starts with seven homers as a hitter over that span.

“Once again, what he’s doing this year, we’ve never seen anything like this,” Trout said. “I’m happy he made the team. I’m excited for him.”

Trout, meanwhile, will be participating in his first All-Star Game since 2019, as the 2020 Midsummer Classic was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and he missed last year’s edition with a strained right calf. Trout was elected as a starter each year from 2013-19 and again last year and this year.

“It’s special,” Trout said. “It means a lot. Obviously, it’s a fan vote so it’s a special honor. It’s a fun couple of days. And this one is in L.A., so it’s not too far from my home. It’s pretty cool. I just like being in that clubhouse. You can’t take it for granted. They’re the best of the best.”

Trout, 30, is having another strong year despite a recent slump, as he went into Friday’s action batting .265/.367/.601 with 23 homers, 17 doubles and 48 RBIs in 75 games. He said he’s thankful the fans recognized him as a starter again and that he enjoys the experience. He was the All-Star Game MVP in both 2014 and ’15.

“I always enjoy going,” Trout said. “It’s a fun few days. It’s fun for the fans. They get to see their favorite players. I really enjoy it. I’ve missed it. I’m glad I’m healthy this year. The last few years, the injury was tough for me mentally and physically. But this year I’ve been able to be out there.”

Trout is the first player to be voted in by the fans as a starter for nine straight All-Star Games since Alex Rodriguez (2000-08) and only the eighth player in AL history to earn nine fan selections with one organization, joining Cal Ripken Jr., George Brett, Ken Griffey Jr., Rod Carew, Derek Jeter, Ichiro Suzuki and Iván Rodríguez.

Another reason Trout’s 10th trip to the All-Star Game will be special: He’ll be able to bring his son, Beckham, for the first time. Beckham turns 2 years old on July 30, and Trout said it worked out great that the game will be held just 30 miles north of Anaheim at Dodger Stadium.

“Beckham is going to be coming, so it’s going to be special,” Trout said. “I brought my nephew to the Derby a couple years ago. So it’ll be a special moment for me, for the first time, being able to bring my son to the All-Star Game.”

The All-Star reserves will be announced on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. PT on ESPN. MLB All-Star Week information can be found at AllStarGame.com and on social media @MLB. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.