February 22, 2018 / 10:27 PM / 23 days ago

Angels' Ohtani to make pitching start on Saturday

(Reuters) - Japanese two-way standout Shohei Ohtani will make his first start for the Los Angeles Angels when he pitches in a spring training game on Saturday, the Angels said on Thursday.

Feb 22, 2018; Tempe, AZ, USA; Members of the media photograph Los Angeles Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani during media day at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

He is the first player in nearly 100 years to attempt to play in the big leagues as a pitcher and hitter and has drawn comparisons with Babe Ruth, who began his career as a pitcher before becoming a Hall of Fame slugger for the New York Yankees.

Ohtani, the former Nippon Ham Fighters player who signed with the Angels in December, is scheduled to pitch two innings against the Milwaukee Brewers at Diablo Stadium, the Angels’ spring training home in Tempe, Arizona.

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A right-hander, Ohtani, 23, had a 2.52 earned run average in five season with the Ham Fighters and is expected to be part of a six-man rotation for the Angels, who play in the American League.

He is not expected to make his hitting debut until Monday since Angels manager Mike Scioscia has said Ohtani will not hit the day he pitches or the day after.

The left-handed batter hit .332 in 2017 and slugged 48 home runs in 1,035 career at-bats in Japan. He homered in batting practice with the Angels last week.

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

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