Ohtani, Estévez rep Angels at All-Star Game

Trout to skip festivities with fractured left wrist

July 10th, 2023

ANAHEIM -- With Mike Trout set to miss the 2023 MLB All-Star Game after sustaining a left hamate fracture, the Angels were in danger of having two-way superstar as their lone representative in the Midsummer Classic.

But closer was added to the American League squad on Friday, replacing Guardians closer Emmanuel Clase. So, now the Angels will have Ohtani and Estévez set to represent them at the All-Star Game on Tuesday in Seattle.

It’s the first All-Star Game selection for Estévez, while Trout was selected for the 11th time, including being voted in as a starting outfielder for a 10th straight year. And Ohtani was named an All-Star as both a designated hitter and starting pitcher for a third straight season.

“He deserved to be in there from the beginning,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said of Estévez. “It doesn’t matter how you get in. You’re being recognized as one of the best. So I’m really happy for him. You try to not to take granted that Mike has been there 11 times and Shohei has three times. But this is his first time, so it’s special.”

Estévez could pitch in the game, but Ohtani won’t, as he’s dealing with a cracked nail on his right middle finger. But he’ll be the starting designated hitter and figures to be a main attraction yet again. Unsurprisingly, no player had ever made the All-Star as both a pitcher and a hitter in the same season before Ohtani, and he’s done it three times.

Ohtani -- the AL MVP in 2021 and the runner-up last year -- is the starting DH after being the leading vote-getter in the American League in Phase 1 of the balloting and was voted in as a starting pitcher by the players. And even though he won’t pitch in the All-Star Game for a second straight year, it’s still incredible achievement to make the roster as both a DH and a starting pitcher.

"He wows you every day with all the records and everything coming our way," Nevin said. "He’s just such a talent, it’s fun to watch."

Ohtani, who is set to be the most coveted free agent in baseball history this offseason, last pitched in the Midsummer Classic in 2021, when he threw a scoreless inning and picked up the win at Coors Field. He also participated in the Derby that year, hitting 28 homers in the first round, but losing to Juan Soto in a swing-off.

He memorably led off last year’s All-Star Game with a single on the first pitch of the game from Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw after he vowed to swing at the first pitch in a television interview right before the start of the game. It’s his lone career hit in three at-bats in two All-Star Games and he was also picked off first base by Kershaw after his single.

Ohtani, who turned 29 on Wednesday, is having another MVP-caliber season, hitting .302/.387/.663 with 32 homers, 15 doubles, six triples, 71 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 89 games. And in 17 starts on the mound, he’s 7-4 with a 3.32 ERA and 132 strikeouts in 100 1/3 innings. He leads the Majors in homers, total bases (217), extra-base hits (51) and OPS (1.033). As a pitcher, he’s also second in the Majors in batting average against (.189) and third in strikeouts.

His season has been powered by an otherworldly June that saw him hit .394/.492/.952 with 15 homers, seven doubles and three triples with four stolen bases and 29 RBIs in 27 games, while also posting a 3.26 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings. His 15 homers in June set the club record for homers in any month and tied the AL record for the most homers in June.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it,” Trout said. “It’s something we’ll never see again.”

Estévez is also a worthy All-Star after posting a 1.85 ERA and going 21-for-21 in save opportunities at the time of his selection. The seven-year veteran previously played with the Rockies and credited not pitching at elevation for his success this year.

“Just executed pitches and I finally got a lot more consistent with my slider,” Estévez said. “But honestly just sea level. Pitching in Colorado is really rough. Now that I'm away from Coors, I see it even more. Because I don't have to do the adjustment every seven days every time we go out on the road and that's a big, big key for me.”