Does Shohei Ohtani belong on the Angels' Opening Day roster?

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The Los Angeles Angels have a difficult decision to make over the next few days: Will Shohei Ohtani make the Opening Day roster?

OK, so maybe it is an easy decision. After all,cheap nfl authentic jerseys Ohtani has struggled on the mound and at the plate in his limited exposure in spring training games. In two spring starts, he allowed nine hits and nine runs in 2⅔ innings, flashing plus stuff but also struggling with his command and serving up three home runs. At the plate, he has gone 3-for-28 with nine strikeouts, three walks and no extra-base hits.

Much of his pitching work has come on the back fields, including an 85-pitch outing in an intrasquad game Saturday against Angels' minor leaguers. While Angels manager Mike Scioscia called it a "great outing," Ohtani threw 47 of the 85 pitches for strikes but walked five batters, hit another and threw two wild pitches. ESPN's Jesse Rogers reported that Ohtani's fastball was 92-94 mph, down from his previous outings. Through his interpreter, Ohtani said after the game that he was working on his splitter and breaking ball more than his fastball, which is probably why his velocity was down a bit. Hmm.

Maybe the Angels feel obligated to keep Ohtani on the major league roster. After all, they were handed a gift when Ohtani selected them over the other teams, and I doubt their sales pitch included Ohtani starting the season in Salt Lake City.

Still, the Angels have a long-term commitment to Ohtani and they need to do what's best for his development and what's best right now for the franchise. That means starting him in the minor leagues, where he can find his fastball command, have a few good outings and get at-bats without everyone focused on whether he's going to be the Babe Ruth of Anaheim on March 29.

Saturday's outing seemed like a possible harbinger of a minor league assignment. Using major league starters on the back fields for minor league games has become a trend in recent seasons, but this felt like a deliberate attempt to give Ohtani a low-pressure environment. cheap nfl jersey The Angels needed him to get his pitch count up, so this also provided a controlled situation to do that. In a regular spring game, for example, if his pitch count in one inning got up to, say, 30, they would likely want to remove him and he'd have to finish throwing on the side. In a controlled scrimmage, you can end the "inning" at any point.

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