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MLB: Angels' Ohtani confident his two-way playing style can be even better

The Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani is seen during a news conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on Nov. 15, 2021. (Mainichi/Yuki Miyatake)=Click/tap photo for more images

TOKYO -- The Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani has expressed confidence in his two-way playing style in the MLB, telling a news conference here on Nov. 15 that he "can go even higher" places with his pitching and batting performances.

    In his first public appearance in Japan since his return from the United States in October, Ohtani held a news conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo to talk about his latest major league season where he made history as a two-way starter.

    The 2021 season was Ohtani's fourth in the MLB but his first one where he suffered no major injuries and was a regular on the roster as both a starting pitcher and a designated hitter.

    "I was sure that I could pitch. I did have worries but was also patient," Ohtani told reporters about his comeback season following surgery on his right elbow.

    Ohtani underwent Tommy John surgery in fall 2018 during his first season in the majors. In April this year, he earned his first MLB win as a starting pitcher, and from then on, appeared in 155 games as the first full-swing two-way starter since Babe Ruth, breaking records and making baseball history.

    As a pitcher, Ohtani earned nine wins -- the most among Angels' pitchers this season -- and two losses with a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts. He hit 46 homers, competing among MLB home run leaders until the end of the season, and eventually placed third in the American League. He left impressive stats -- a batting average of .257 with 100 RBIs and 26 stolen bases.

    The 27-year-old history maker has attracted a great deal of attention in the U.S., receiving the rare Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award, which was given out for the first time in seven years, among other awards he's already received so far for the 2021 season. He is seen as one of the front-runners to be named the Most Valuable Player, voted by sports journalists, in the American League to be announced on Nov. 19 Japan time.

    (Japanese original by Shohei Oshima, Sports News Department)

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