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OC Register: Angels hope to get a few more starts out of Shohei Ohtani in 2023


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SAN DIEGO — Although the Angels aren’t planning to use a five-man rotation in 2023, they still want to squeeze a few more starts out of Shohei Ohtani.

Manager Phil Nevin said the Angels’ current plan is to use a six-man rotation, but with a twist. Ohtani would pitch every sixth day, instead of every sixth game. For most of last season, Ohtani worked every sixth game, so that often meant pitching with six days of rest when there was an off day in between his starts.

If the Angels instead keep Ohtani on a sixth-day schedule and work the other starters around him, he could make two or three more starts over the course of the season.

“The fact is it’s Shohei Ohtani, and I want him out there every time he’s able to pitch,” Nevin said.

Ohtani made 28 starts in 2022, and if he pitched every sixth day whenever possible throughout the 2023 schedule, he would start 31 times. It’s still unlikely that he’d be able to do that all season, because that would mean he would never need an extra day of rest or have a rainout alter the schedule.

Nevin said he’s not concerned about Ohtani – or any of the Angels’ other players – participating in the World Baseball Classic.

“I couldn’t be more happy for those guys,” Nevin said. “One of the highlights of my career was in college getting to play in the Olympics in Barcelona, wearing USA across my chest. And for these guys to have that opportunity to represent their countries in this atmosphere, go have at it. I would never step in their way, tell them to do anything different other than to go out and compete their ass off for their countries.”

Hideki Kuriyama, the manager of Team Japan, said they have not yet decided if Ohtani will pitch as a starter or reliever in the WBC. Ohtani will also DH.

Japan’s first game is March 9 in Tokyo, so Ohtani might have to ramp up sooner than normal in order to be able to start by then. However, the tournament continues through March 21, so it’s possible that even if Ohtani isn’t ready to start at the beginning, he could be at the end.

Angels general manager Perry Minasian has said repeatedly that he has no concerns about Ohtani’s workload in the WBC.

“He’s the last guy I’m worried about,” Minasian said. “I know when the bell rings, he’ll be ready to go.”

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