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Ohtani in HR Derby? Scioscia won't stop him

Two-way player to start Sunday's series finale on mound
MLB.com @mi_guardado

ANAHEIM -- Shohei Ohtani regularly flaunts his impressive raw power during pregame batting practice, but he created some buzz on Friday after crushing a ball off the new right-field scoreboard at Angel Stadium.

The official estimate on Ohtani's moonshot was 513 feet, according to the Angels.

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ANAHEIM -- Shohei Ohtani regularly flaunts his impressive raw power during pregame batting practice, but he created some buzz on Friday after crushing a ball off the new right-field scoreboard at Angel Stadium.

The official estimate on Ohtani's moonshot was 513 feet, according to the Angels.

View Full Game Coverage

"I'm not sure if it was the farthest ball I've hit," Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. "But I think that kind of proves that I'm improving in all aspects of my game."

Manager Mike Scioscia, for his part, had little interest in discussing Ohtani's batting practice exploits.

"BP is BP," Scioscia shrugged. "Shohei has a lot of power."

Ohtani, of course, also put on a memorable show during batting practice at Coors Field earlier this month, hammering a ball into the third deck and leaving a mark on one of the stadium railings.

His big power would seem to make him a logical candidate to participate in the Home Run Derby during the All-Star Game at Nationals Park in July, though the field won't be set for a while. Ohtani competed in Japan's Home Run Derby in 2016, and won the event while playing for the Nippon-Ham Fighters. His six home runs this season are tied with the Yankees' Tyler Austin for the most among American League rookies.

Scioscia said he would leave the decision up to Ohtani if he were invited to participate in the Home Run Derby this year.

"That's a player's decision," Scioscia said. "I'm sure there's going to be a lot of things that come into what a player decides, but it's always been the prerogative of a player if he wants to participate in things like that."

Ohtani was not in the Angels' lineup on Saturday, as he is slated to make his seventh pitching appearance in Sunday's series finale against the Rays. Ohtani has logged a 3.58 ERA with 43 strikeouts over 32 2/3 innings this season.

Ohtani said that he thinks being able to see the Rays' hitters in person for three games will help prepare him for his start on Sunday.

"Rather than seeing it on video, actually seeing it in person like this, I think it's a lot more information to digest," Ohtani said. "I think it's going to help me out."

Upton returns

Justin Upton returned to the Angels' lineup on Saturday, batting third and starting in left field. Upton missed Friday's game after being struck on the left hand by a 95-mph fastball from Chris Archer on Thursday.

Video: TB@LAA: Upton day-to-day after getting hit in hand

Worth noting

• The Angels called up left-handed reliever Ian Krol and optioned Eduardo Paredes to Triple-A Salt Lake on Saturday. To clear a spot for Krol on the 40-man roster, the Angels transferred Matt Shoemaker (right forearm strain) to the 60-day disabled list.

The Angels needed a fresh arm after their bullpen was forced to pitch 6 1/3 innings in relief of Nick Tropeano on Friday. Krol, 27, has logged a 1.71 ERA over 21 innings with Triple-A Salt Lake this season.

"I don't think Ian threw the ball in the spring that poorly, but it certainly wasn't quite where he is right now," Scioscia said. "He needed some time, I think, to work on some things, and to go out there and just find his pitches on a consistent basis, and he's done that. He's been throwing the ball very well down there."

• Reliever Blake Wood (right elbow impingement) will need at least one more rehab appearance before being activated from the disabled list, Scioscia said. Wood, who has been sidelined since April 23, has allowed two runs over 2 1/3 innings in three outings for Class A Advanced Inland Empire this week. He made his third rehab appearance on Saturday, and allowed one run on two hits in 2/3 of an inning.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels, Shohei Ohtani