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Ohtani earns praise from Angels after stellar home debut

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Angels had nothing but praise for rookie Shohei Ohtani after he hit his first major league home run at home at Angels Stadium on April 4.

"Shohei put on a display of the type of talent he has tonight," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, a World Series winner. "He showed the power. He showed the ability to just square up a baseball, and he had a great night for us."

Ohtani's popular teammate Mike Trout, a two-time American League MVP, also said the Japanese double-talent was unbelievable. Both of the seasoned men had nothing but praise for Ohtani's three-run homer.

Ohtani stepped up to the plate in the first inning with two out and runners on second and third. With the count at 2-2, Ohtani, standing a little away from home plate, connected on an inside curve -- a course that was easy for him to hit -- and the ball rode the wind to fly into the right-center stands.

Commenting on his swing, Ohtani said it felt "really good."

In his pre-season games, Ohtani had languished with a batting average of .125. He said that when focusing on breaking pitches, he had concentrated on making sure his timing wasn't too slow, and ended up swinging too fast and not connecting well. However, toward the end of the pre-season period, he switched to a no-stride approach, eliminating needless movement, and this enabled him to "see the ball for longer," he said. This helped him in his first at-bat at Angels Stadium.

It was the first time for Ohtani to step up to the plate since his season opening appearance on March 29, and the home game followed his first major league start as a pitcher on April 1. When asked by a reporter if it was hard for him to get into a good rhythm, he replied, "This is the right spacing for me. I've been doing it since I was in Japan."

In less than a week after the start of the season, Ohtani has been able to show his worth as a two-way player, excelling in both pitching and batting. (Japanese original by Yu Kishimoto, Sports News Department)

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