Ohtani gets first MLB All-Star nod

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani gained his first Major League Baseball All-Star nod as designated hitter for the American League team announced on Thursday.

Ohtani, who leads the majors with 28 home runs, was named alongside Los Angeles Angels teammate Mike Trout, who was voted in by fans as one of three outfielders but isn’t expected to be able to play in the July 13 game at Coors Field in Denver as he continues to recover from right calf strain.

For Trout it was a ninth All-Star selection.

Ohtani was joined as a first-time All-Star by the San Diego Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr. and Toronto's Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Tatis, who was announced as the National League's starting shortstop, is the first Padres player voted in to the midseason exhibition by fans since Tony Gwynn in 1999.

Ohtani, who is leading the major leagues with 28 home runs and has a 3.60 earned run average as a pitcher, beat out Yordan Alvarez of the Houston Astros and J.D. Martinez of the Boston Red Sox for the DH start.

Angels manager Joe Maddon said Thursday he'd be happy to see Ohtani pitch in the All-Star game as well.

"Of course, he'd only pitch one inning, and he'd maybe get one at-bat," Maddon said. "Let him hit and pitch. People want to see that."

Ohtani is already signed up for the Home Run Derby on All-Star weekend.

He'll be the first Japanese-born player to participate in the event and the first to do so after making at least one pitching start.

Guerrero gets his first All-Star Game start as the leading vote-getter across both the American and National leagues.

The 22-year-old is the youngest player ever to lead the All-Star voting. He entered Thursday tied with Tatis for second in the major leagues with 26 home runs.