Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Rays

Rays get the full ‘Shohei Ohtani experience’ on Wednesday

Notes | Kevin Cash joked that helping MLB make a rule change regarding Ohtani now looks like a bad idea.
Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) reacts as he runs the bases after hitting a grand slam home run during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, May 9, 2022. Andrew Velazquez, Brandon Marsh, and Mike Trout also scored. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) reacts as he runs the bases after hitting a grand slam home run during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, May 9, 2022. Andrew Velazquez, Brandon Marsh, and Mike Trout also scored. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis) [ ASHLEY LANDIS | Associated Press ]
Published May 10|Updated May 11

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Rays saw plenty of Shohei Ohtani in Monday’s series opener, as he hit two home runs in the Angels’ 11-3 win, including his first professional grand slam.

Wednesday afternoon they will get the full Ohtani experience, as the two-way star from Japan is scheduled to be the starting pitcher and is in the Angels lineup as the DH.

Rays manager Kevin Cash marvels at what Ohtani has done while trying to put it in the proper context.

“We’re seeing something that we’ve never seen,” Cash said. “I don’t know anybody that would say, ‘Oh, in five years, we’ll see it again. In 10 years, we’ll see it again.’ I don’t think anybody feels that convicted. So we should be appreciating it quite a bit, because he’s a really special talent.”

Shane McClanahan, who starts for the Rays on Wednesday, is also impressed by Ohtani.

“He’s one of a kind — I think that’s the only way to put it,” McClanahan said. “He’s very special. He won MVP last year for a reason. He does it on the mound. He does it at the plate. And I think we’re all pretty lucky to be able to watch him do his thing.”

Corey Kluber, the 12-year veteran who at times has been among the game’s top starting pitchers, also is in awe, particularly over how Ohtani can put in the work necessary to be so good in both roles.

“From what I’ve heard, the discipline to do everything you need to do on a day-to-day basis is second to none,” he said. “That alone — I mean, preparing yourself to do one takes enough time. And then to do both of them and excel at both of them, not just to do it for the sake of doing it, but to be really good at both, too, is very impressive.”

Shohei Ohtani holds his 2021 American League Most Valuable Player award during a ceremony before Tuesday's game. Ohtani also was presented with his 2021 Louisville Slugger award, the Edgar Martinez Award, the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award, and an All-MLB first- and second-team plaque.
Shohei Ohtani holds his 2021 American League Most Valuable Player award during a ceremony before Tuesday's game. Ohtani also was presented with his 2021 Louisville Slugger award, the Edgar Martinez Award, the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award, and an All-MLB first- and second-team plaque. [ ASHLEY LANDIS | AP ]

Noting the number of top starters McClanahan has matched up with, Cash is confident the 25-year-old lefty will be focused on his assignment, though the uniqueness of the situation tripped Cash up.

“He’s not pitching against the guy on the mound. He’s pitching against a very good Anaheim lineup. He’s got his hands full,” Cash said. “Well, he is pitching against the guy on the mound. So he’s got his hands full.”

Cash in a way is to blame for the new rule for this year that allows Ohtani to stay in the game as the DH after he is done pitching. Cash pushed for Major League Baseball to make that change last July when he managed the American League team in the All-Star Game — knowing Ohtani would only pitch one inning and fans wanted to see him hit — and it was adopted for regular-season play.

“Bad idea on my part,” Cash joked.

Margot injury brings Brujan back

Manuel Margot was not in Tuesday’s lineup and is likely to be rested again Wednesday leading into Thursday’s off day. He left Monday’s game with right hamstring tightness. “I‘m optimistic and hopeful, maybe more hopeful than optimistic, that he’s going to be all right,” said Cash, adding that Margot would be available in a key situation.

Want more than just the box score?

Want more than just the box score?

Subscribe to our free Rays Report newsletter

Columnist John Romano will send the latest Rays insights and analysis to keep you updated weekly during the season.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

Infielder/outfielder Vidal Brujan, a switch hitter who can play just about anywhere, was called up from Triple-A Durham, where he was hitting .300 with an .817 OPS, and said he has been feeling good about his play. Reliever Calvin Faucher was sent down after his rough Monday debut, allowing five runs as he walked Mike Trout with the bases loaded and gave up Ohtani’s slam. “He’s a guy that we like,” Cash said of Faucher. “That outing does not change our opinion of him.”

Miscellany

Ohtani received his AL MVP and other awards in a pre-game ceremony. ... Monday marked the second time in franchise history the Rays allowed a “home run cycle” — solo, two-run, three-run, grand slam — in a game; also July 23, 2002, at Boston in a 22-4 loss. ... Wednesday’s game ends a stretch of playing 16 straight days (third longest of the season), with three of the next 12 days off. ... Cash said the Rays were impressed with the at-bats and defensive play of Isaac Paredes, the infielder acquired (for Austin Meadows) from Detroit, when he filled in during Ji-Man Choi’s 10 days on the injured list: “Looks like a baseball player.”

• • •

Sign up for the Rays Report weekly newsletter to get fresh perspectives on the Tampa Bay Rays and the rest of the majors from sports columnist John Romano.

Never miss out on the latest with the Bucs, Rays, Lightning, Florida college sports and more. Follow our Tampa Bay Times sports team on Twitter and Facebook.

Advertisement

This site no longer supports your current browser. Please use a modern and up-to-date browser version for the best experience.

Chrome Firefox Safari Edge