Shohei Ohtani (29), a pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels, is the first to step onto the mound.
Angels coach Phil Nevin announced in an interview with the local media on the 17th (Korean time) that Ohtani will start the opening game.
Ohtani will take the mound in the season opener against the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California, USA at 11:07 a.m. on March 31 (7:07 p.m. local time on the 30th).
He was the first among 안전놀이터30 clubs to announce the selection for the opening game. It was a clear choice for them.
Ohtani showed his best performance as a pitcher last season. He went 15-9 with an earned run average of 2.33 in 28 games and 166 innings.
He posted a 1.012 WHIP with 0.8 home runs per 9 innings, 2.4 walks and 11.9 strikeouts. He led the American League in strikeouts per nine innings and was ranked fourth in the Cy Young Award voting.
Ohtani will be the starter for the opening game for the second year in a row following the 2022 season. In last year’s opener against the Houston Astros, he allowed 4 hits, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts and 1 run in 4 2/3 innings.
As the camp was delayed due to the lockout, the build-up was also disrupted, and he came down after digesting only 80 pitches.
There is a high possibility that he will not throw many balls in the opening game this time. Because he joined the Japanese national team for the World Baseball Classic (WBC). In the national team, there is a possibility that he will serve as a closer, but in that case, it is expected that the build-up will be disrupted.
Ohtani said in an interview that day, “It’s a great honor,” and expressed his feelings about participating in the opening match.