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Perry Minasian on Shohei Ohtani: ‘He’s going to help us win games in a lot of ways’

New Angels GM has high praise for the 2-way player

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Los Angeles Angels v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

Among the challenges that lie ahead for new Angels general manager Perry Minasian is how to properly utilize Shohei Ohtani, who had a disastrous 2020 third season in the majors.

Ohtani hit just .190/.291/.366 with seven home runs in 44 games as a batter. His pitching was limited to two short starts, allowing seven runs while recording a total of five outs. It was a far cry from the dynamic two-way player who ran away with the American League Rookie of the Year award in 2018, posting a 151 OPS+ with 22 home runs plus a 127 ERA+ in 51⅔ innings on the mound.

“He’s a blow-your-hair-back type of player,” Minasian said in his introductory press conference at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday. “He’s a guy that everybody in the ballpark wants to watch.

“He’s beyond talented. He can do things that 99 percent of the people can’t. But this is a hard game, and he’s a young player, I think we lose sight of how old he is,” Minasian said. “He’s a young player going through ups and downs early in his career. I look forward to watching him play. I think he’s going to be a huge part of this club. I think he’s going to help us win games in a lot of ways.”

Ohtani’s pitching in 2020 ended with a strain of the flexor pronator mass near his right elbow. He also had Tommy John surgery at the end of the 2018 season, which limited him to only batting duties in 2019.

It sounds like the Angels are still committed to using Ohtani as a two-way player, something he’s expressed interest in continuing.

“He’s capable of doing both. If we can set up a program, to where from a health standpoint we feel like he’s ready to go, we’d be doing a disservice to not discuss,” Minasian said. “I’ve just taken this job a week ago, haven’t had the opportunity to talk to our medical staff or coaching staff. So I look forward to those conversations and and creating a plan going forward.”