Two-way star Shohei Ohtani enjoyed participating in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby so much on Monday that he said Tuesday he’d love to be in the event again in the future.
Ohtani -- the No. 1 seed because he entered the break leading the Majors in homers (33) -- lost in the first round to the Nationals’ Juan Soto. But it was a thriller, as the matchup went to a one-minute tiebreaker and then a three-swing swing-off that Soto won. Ohtani won Nippon Professional Baseball’s Home Run Derby in Japan in 2016 and has said he enjoys the format. He set a Home Run Derby record with six homers that traveled at least 500 feet on Monday.
“I’d definitely want to participate again,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “But for that to happen, I’ll have to have a good first half of a season.”
Ohtani has had more than just a good first half of a season this year, as he hit 33 homers and also posted a 3.49 ERA in 13 starts on the mound. He made history on Tuesday, as he started the game for the American League -- throwing a 1-2-3 first inning that saw his fastball reach 100.2 mph -- and also went 0-for-2 with two groundouts at the plate.
Next year, Ohtani wouldn’t have to travel far to participate, as the Dodgers are set to host the All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium after the 2020 event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.