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Simply when the baseball world thought it had seen all of it from Shohei Ohtani, the celebrity had one other trick up his sleeve as he known as his personal pitches within the Angels’ season opener towards the Oakland Athletics on Thursday.
Ohtani began his second consecutive Opening Day for the Angels and he did so through the use of the PitchCom machine, with a little bit of a twist. As an alternative of the catcher relaying the pitch calls to Ohtani, now it’s the different approach round.
The 2021 AL MVP retains the machine beneath his jersey, near his left shoulder, based on ESPN’s Tim Keown.
He is utilizing PitchCom to assist fight the challenges of the brand new pitch clock, which permits a pitcher simply 15 seconds to start their throwing movement.
“Shohei’s bought so many pitches he can throw,” Angels supervisor Phil Nevin mentioned forward of the sport. “So for him to undergo ’em and shake and shake and shake—time’s operating out as a result of that factor would not say it fast sufficient typically.”
Ohtani is not the one participant within the league adopting this technique, nevertheless. His personal teammate, reliever Ryan Tepera, is doing the identical.
However as an alternative of preserving the machine on his wrist or forearm so he can see the keypad, Ohtani needed to memorize the place each quantity was on the machine so he might get the suitable name via.
This can be a new change as MLB solely authorized pitchers with the ability to use PitchCom final Friday.
It’s going to be fascinating to see how a lot this new system impacts Ohtani, who was one the league’s most dominant pitchers final season as he completed with a 2.33 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and was fourth within the AL CY Younger vote.