ANAHEIM -- White Sox manager Rick Renteria got a glimpse of Shohei Ohtani's prodigious power when the Japanese rookie lifted a fly ball deep to the warning track in left field in his first at-bat of the Angels' 5-3 loss on Monday night at Angel Stadium."We looked at each other
ANAHEIM -- White Sox manager Rick Renteria got a glimpse of Shohei Ohtani's prodigious power when the Japanese rookie lifted a fly ball deep to the warning track in left field in his first at-bat of the Angels' 5-3 loss on Monday night at Angel Stadium.
"We looked at each other and went, 'OK, this kid has power,'" Renteria said. "Then he put one in the turf in center field and we said, 'Confirmed.'"
While the first ball that Ohtani hit didn't leave the outfield, the second one did. The 24-year-old left-handed slugger crushed a towering solo home run off right-hander Lucas Giolito to briefly give the Angels a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning.
Ohtani pulverized a 93.5-mph fastball from Giolito, depositing it over the shrubs and onto the batter's eye in center field for his eighth home run of the season. The blast had an exit velocity of 107.7 mph and traveled a projected 435 feet, according to Statcast™.
"Good looking young player," Renteria said. "Looks like he puts together really good at-bats. Should be exciting for him and everybody who follows him."
While Ohtani regularly puts on impressive displays of power during batting practice on the road, all eight of his home runs this season have come at Angel Stadium against right-handed pitchers.
"Obviously, I hope to hit them on the road as well, but there's a comfort level with the atmosphere, getting ready for the game," Ohtani said. "I think it's just a coincidence."
Ohtani's latest homer also followed another curious trend: It was hit to straightaway center field. Seven of Ohtani's eight home runs have landed there this season, and he entered Monday with an MLB-high 1.093 slugging percentage on balls hit to the middle of the field.
"I'm not really aware of hitting it toward center field, but it seems to go that way," Ohtani said. "If I can hit the ball well, it doesn't matter where it lands. I don't put a lot of thought into it."
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.