Will Ohtani participate in HR Derby again?

June 26th, 2022

This story was excerpted from Rhett Bollinger’s Angels Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

ANAHEIM -- It was quite the two-day showing for two-way star Shohei Ohtani.

Ohtani set a career-high with eight RBIs at the plate on Tuesday against the Royals and followed it up by striking out a career-high 13 batters on Wednesday against Kansas City. Incredibly, no player in AL or NL history had ever had both an eight-RBI game as a hitter and a 13-strikeout game as a pitcher. And Ohtani accomplished those feats on back-to-back days.

Ohtani, the reigning American League MVP, appears to be headed to his second straight All-Star Game appearance, although he was second in the balloting at designated hitter behind the Astros' Yordan Alvarez on Tuesday. Ohtani, though, said it’s too early to say whether he’d be open to both hitting and pitching in the game like last year, when he was the first player selected to the All-Star Game as a both a pitcher and a hitter. Ohtani was the starting pitcher and the leadoff hitter for the AL last year.

“I have to be selected first before I even start thinking about it,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “There are a lot of games left until the All-Star break. So, I’ll take it one game at a time and see where we end up.”

Ohtani also said he hasn’t decided whether he’ll participate in the Home Run Derby for a second straight year. Ohtani hit 28 homers in the first round of the Derby at Coors Field last year but lost in a swing-off to Juan Soto. This year, the Home Run Derby is on July 18 at Dodger Stadium, with the Midsummer Classic set for July 19.

“It’s definitely an honor if I get invited again,” Ohtani said. “I’ll think positively about it. But depending on when I’m pitching and the schedule, I still need to find out about that.”