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OC Register: Angels’ Shohei Ohtani said he’d like to compete in HR Derby, if he’s asked

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ST. LOUIS — If Major League Baseball wants Shohei Ohtani in the Home Run Derby, Ohtani says he’s willing to give it a shot.

However, Ohtani conceded that hasn’t discussed the possibility with the Angels, who may have concerns about the added demands on his surgically repaired right arm.

Ohtani’s power displays in batting practice are legendary, so there is no question he’d put on a good show on July 8 in Cleveland. Major League Baseball invites the participants, sometimes including players who aren’t in the All-Star Game. Even though Ohtani missed the first month of the season, it would not be a surprise if MLB officials wanted him to participate because of the attention he’d draw on both sides of the globe.

“I haven’t heard anything yet, but if I am asked, I’d be honored to compete in it,” Ohtani said through his interpreter after the Angels’ game on Sunday night.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler had said earlier this month that the Angels would not comment on whether they’d allow Ohtani to compete until finding out if it was a possibility.

The Angels have been careful with Ohtani’s rehab from Tommy John surgery at every step of the way, inching along as he worked his way back as a hitter, while also throwing to return to pitching next season.

Although Ohtani is cleared for a normal regimen of hitting and batting practice, a large number of high intensity swings in a short time period might be a different situation.

“We haven’t discussed anything,” Ohtani said. “But if they do ask me, we’ll have to discuss it internally with the medical staff. Of course, I’d love to play in it, but it’s not only my decision. We have to see what the team says.”

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