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OC Register: Angels’ Shohei Ohtani to start on mound and at DH in All-Star Game

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DENVER — Shohei Ohtani’s two-way skills will be on display early at the All-Star Game.

The Angels star has been tabbed to start on the mound for the American League, in addition to serving as the starting designated hitter, sources told the Southern California News Group on Monday morning.

The official announcement is expected at a press conference at 11 a.m. PT in Denver.

It’s no surprise that Major League Baseball would want Ohtani to start on the mound, even though other starters have better statistics from a strict pitching standpoint.

The sport is doing all it can to maximize the exposure for a once-in-a-lifetime superstar. The first player ever selected to the All-Star team as both a pitcher and a hitter, Ohtani was the subject of a commercial that MLB released over the weekend.

It’s unclear how MLB will handle the rules for the game, because normally if a team starts a game with its pitcher in the batting order it forfeits the use of the DH for the rest of the game. It is likely that rule would simply be ignored for the purposes of an exhibition game.

Having Ohtani start the game also likely works best for his preparation. He can do his normal pregame throwing routine without the interruption of being in the lineup, as he would if he came out of the bullpen.

Ohtani comes into the All-Star festivities with a 3.49 ERA in 13 starts. He has struck out 87 in 67 innings.

At the plate, he’s the major league leader with 33 homers, to go along with a .279 average, a major league leading .698 slugging percentage and a 1.062 OPS.

More to come on this story.

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