Shohei Ohtani hit a ball a very long way on Wednesday against the Rangers. Four hundred and sixty-eight feet, to be exact, off right-hander Hans Crouse in the fifth inning, over the batters eye in center field at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
“That’s what we’ve been seeing, even in regular batting practice,” manager Joe Maddon told reporters after the game. “Better balance, just a better overall approach.”
It was a down year for Ohtani in 2020 all the way around. He had two disastrous pitching outings before getting hurt and shut down, and at the plate he had his worst year yet. But after an offseason of training, including working with Driveline — as detailed in February by Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic — the Angels have high hopes for Ohtani in 2021.
When Ohtani avoided salary arbitration with a two-year, $8.5 million contract in January, the Angels praised his offseason work.
We feel like locking Shohei in, for where he’s at this offseason with the amount of work put into it, he’s in a really good place mentally and physically,” general manager Perry Minasian said at the time. “I’m excited to see him in spring training.”
So far, so good for Ohtani, who is 3-for-5 in his two spring games to date. Believe it or not, this was Ohtani’s first Cactus League home run of his career.
Oh yeah, and Ohtani takes the mound on Friday. Maybe we can get another highlight from him.