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Shohei Ohtani could have shut it down already.

Napsal: sob 20. dub 2019 11:36:05
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ANAHEIM Brandon McCarthy Jersey , Calif. (AP) —He could have wrapped up his singular rookie season with the Los Angeles Angels and proceeded straight to the Tommy John surgery looming for him next week.Instead, Ohtani is still slugging away in the eighth inning of a sparsely attended night game in the final days of September between two teams that won’t get anywhere near the playoffs this year.He is facing Texas’ Chris Martin, his teammate last season in Japan. Ohtani pounces on a pitch up in the zone and drives it the opposite way, flashing the all-fields power that still stuns.His shoot hits the top of the left field wall and bounds into the bullpen. The tiebreaking homer is his 22nd of the year, matching his best pro total with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.“You’ve seen him get progressively better as the season has gone on,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “This experience is invaluable to him — to be able to finish strong, see as much pitching as he can, log it and be ready for next year to swing the bat.”Ohtani’s patient, almost ascetic approach to baseball has been evident ever since he agreed to join the Angels last winter. In doing so, he passed up untold millions that he could have made by waiting a couple of years in Japan, instead hurrying stateside to begin the long process of mastering the big leagues as a pitcher and a hitter.So it was no surprise to his teammates and coaches when he decided to keep hitting until October, even after he realized his pitching elbow would require surgery . It’s also no surprise that he plans to hit throughout next season without giving up on his long-term plan to be a two-way player.The 24-year-old is focused on the long view, but every small step along the path is vital.“I think the way I finish the season is really important to me, whether it’s good or bad,” Ohtani said. “Because I know what to work on during the offseason. This time I was able to finish strong, so it was a really good feeling.”Ohtani heads into the Angels’ final three games of 2018 batting .283 with 22 homers , 59 RBIs and a .930 OPS in just 355 plate appearances. Before he felt pain in his pitching elbow in early June, he had 63 strikeouts and a 3.31 ERA in just 10 starts of tantalizing quality.Despite the arm injury that ended his pitching efforts and kept him from batting for most of June, Ohtani is a top contender for the AL Rookie of the Year award. Voters must evaluate Ohtani’s unique talents next to the more conventional hitting prowess of New York Yankees sluggers Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres.Ohtani’s persistence has proven to be one of his greatest strengths — and that isn’t always the case with athletes of his prodigious gifts.When he took a two-month break from pitching, he struggled at the plate to start July — but then batted .328 in August with six homers and 18 RBIs. After his return to the mound in early September went poorly and left him facing the inevitability of Tommy John, Ohtani improbably racked up four homers and 10 RBIs in his first four games back at the plate.The Angels attribute that resilience to Ohtani’s mental toughness, which is a key complement to his unique skills.“He’s got a great makeup,” Scioscia said. “I think he understands the separation of pitching and hitting. He’s able to take that batting helmet off and put that pitcher’s cap on and go pitch when he’s going to pitch, and when he’s hitting, he’s focused on hitting. He just wants to play baseball, whatever he can do. So I know he’s looking forward to pitching, but I think it’s an easy sideways step for him to become just a hitter. He just loves to play the game.”Away from the field, Ohtani appears to be settled smoothly in Orange County with his new club. While he doesn’t speak in public without Ippei Mazuhara, his translator and constant companion at Angel Stadium, he clearly understands much more English than he did in April — and more Spanish, as evidenced in his spirited recent rendition of “Despacito” on the team bus.Ohtani is finishing this season batting cleanup as the Angels’ designated hitter, and he’s likely to resume that role in 2019. While the Angels remain firmly committed to supporting Ohtani’s two-way skills Jose Ramirez Jersey , everyone around the club is eager to see what Ohtani can accomplish while he’s largely focused on just one side of his two-way game.“The thing about Shohei is he’s got the potential to do it all, and he’s committed to getting there,” Scioscia said. “It’s not often you see that combination in a guy, and he’s got it all.” The Los Angeles Dodgers have been one of the busiest teams on the MLB trade market in recent years.Ahead of Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline, the Dodgers acquired Manny Machado for a quintet of prospects, but that isn't the only upgrade they're looking to make.With Machado already in the lineup, the Dodgers are in search of bullpen help to alleviate some of the pressure on closer Kenley Jansen's shoulders.The relief market is shifting by the day, as a few trades have taken place since the All-Star break, but there are still plenty of players available who could help the Dodgers down the stretch.Below is a look at the latest buzz surrounding the Dodgers' trade targets.Zach BrittonThe Dodgers are one of many teams involved in talks for theBaltimore Orioles' Zach Britton, who is deemed the best reliever left on the market.Although the Dodgers are discussing a potential deal with theO's, they don't appear to be the front-runner for the 30-year-old yet, as theBoston Red Sox, Houston AstrosandChicago Cubs are more active in talks, per MASN's Roch Kubatko:Roch Kubatko masnRochWhile it鈥檚 true #dodgers in talks with #orioles regarding Britton, hearing #astros, #redsox and #cubs more active.The main concern for the Dodgers if they acquire Britton is his salary Ronald Acuna Jr. Jersey , as the $4.5 million he's still owed would put them near the luxury-tax threshold, which would force them to make a corresponding move, per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal:Ken Rosenthal Ken_RosenthalBritton still owed more than $4.5M. #Dodgers up against luxury-tax threshold. If they acquire Britton, they almost certainly will need to purge another salary to remain under. vESaGQbivvIf the Dodgers find a way to get a deal done for Britton, they would be seen as one of the biggest winners of the non-waiver trade deadline, and they'd be viewed as one of the top contenders to win the World Series.Britton's experience as a closer would help the Dodgers in eighth-inning situations, with Jansen waiting to take over in the ninth.Gail Burton/Associated PressBy possessing a dynamic one-two punch in Britton and Jansen, the Dodgers could turn into an unstoppable team in the postseason if their starters are able to go six or seven innings.Since Britton spent time as a starter earlier in his career, it wouldn't be out of the question for the Dodgers to use him starting in the seventh to bridge the gap to Jansen.However, the Dodgers might be in a less-than-ideal position in their attempts to acquire Britton since they already sent five prospects to Baltimore for Machado.With Brad Hand and Jeurys Familia already dealt, the Orioles might try to drive up the price for Britton, knowing he's the most coveted trade target.If that occurs, the Dodgers might be outpriced by other contenders willing to go all-in for a championship by sacrificing a few key prospects. Brad BrachIf the Dodgers are unable to bring in Britton, they could turn to another part of the Orioles bullpen to bolster their relief pitching.According toBill Shaikinof theLos Angeles Times,the Dodgers are interested in Brad Brach in addition to Britton.Brach, who unlike Britton pitched since the start of the season Sean Newcomb Jersey , has 10 saves in 41 appearances for the Orioles, but he possesses a 4.97 ERA in 38 innings.The 32-year-old right-hander would be a downgrade from Britton, but he'd still be an addition who could help Jansen throughout the final two months of the regular season and playoffs.Jim Mone/Associated PressA year ago, Brach recorded a 3.18 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 68 innings, and he gained experience as a closer after Britton went down with an Achilles injury.While he isn't a big fish on the trade market like Britton, Brach might be the better option for the Dodgers if they're looking to trade away fewer prospects while still improving the bullpen.One of the downfalls to acquiring Brach instead of Britton would be the lack of a left-handed power arm in front of Jansen, but the Dodgers could look elsewhere.Other options include Miami's Kyle Barraclough and Drew Steckenrider, who could move to the forefront of the relief market if the Miami Marlins believe they can receive favorable packages in return.A surprise name or two could always pop up as well, which might lead the Dodgers in another direction, but for now, their focus appears to be on the two Orioles relievers.Follow Joe on Twitter, JTansey90.