By RONALD BLUM AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) – Shohei Ohtani achieved a first-time history in the next century with baseball’s All-Star Game: choice as both position player and pitcher.
The Los Angeles Angels’ two-way sensation was among the starting throws selected Sunday for American League staff until July 13 at Denver Coors Field. Ohtani, who leads the majors in home races, had already been selected by fans to start for AL by designated hitter.
Boston has the most All-Stars for the first time since 2009, sending five. Designated hitter JD Martinez, starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and reliever Matt Barnes were chosen to join a couple of starters: shortstop Xander Bogaerts and third baseman Rafael Devers.
Houston and Toronto have four All-Stars each.
Ohtani received 121 votes in a poll of players, managers and coaches that were announced three days after fan-selected starters were revealed.
The guy will participate in the Home Run Derby, pitch in the game and hit in the game. It does not happen like ever, “said Angels boss Joe Maddon after speaking with AL manager Kevin Cash from Tampa Bay. “So this is the one time … even non-baseball fans can really stick to this and get interested.”
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Babe Ruth’s pitch days were largely behind him when the All-Star Game started in 1933. Ruth made a pitching appearance that year, the last of her career on the last day of the season. He last struck regularly in 1919.
Ohtani started Sunday with a stroke average of 0.278, 30 major races in the major leagues and 66 RBIs along with a 3-1 record and a 3.60 ERA in 12 starts on the mound to go with 83 strikes in 60 innings.
He was joined by fellow starting pitcher Gerrit Cole of the New York Yankees (272 votes), and Lance Lynn (199) and Carlos Rodón (192) of the Chicago White Sox.
Cleveland’s Shane Bieber (189) was also selected, but is injured and will miss the match along with Angels outfielder Mike Trout, who was selected to start, and Washington outfielder Kyle Schwarber, who was selected as a reserve.
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