After a wild 24 hours in which he started the All-Star Game as a pitcher and won, was the leadoff hitter as a designated hitter and participated in the derby, Ohtani said he planned to participate in a future derby, on one condition.
“I definitely want to participate again,” Ohtani said Tuesday through an interpreter. “But for that to happen, I need to have a good first half of that season.”
Ohtani’s participation in future All-Star Games is not likely to be questioned anytime soon. Fans voted the 27-year-old to start the AL as designated hitter and should do the same for the foreseeable future. Perhaps Ohtani will determine his worth for participation based on his performance, but based on the reaction to his derby debut, the desire for him to honor the Dodger Stadium derby in 2022 with his presence will be significant.
In front of a packed Coors Field Monday, Ohtani was the No. 1 seed and the main attraction. He missed home runs on his first nine swings, then proceeded to hit 22 home runs, tying Soto. Ohtani was exhausted after the round, but came back to equal Soto’s six home runs in what was supposed to be a playoff round. Soto hit three home runs on a swing-off and Ohtani rolled on the first pitch, ending the matchup and drawing a cheer from the crowd that dissipated after his departure.
On Tuesday, Ohtani pitched a scoreless first inning, including a fastball that hit 100 mph, and ended up winning when the American League beat the National League 5-2. He went 2-0 at the plate.