Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia has a clearer idea about how he'll deploy Shohei Ohtani this season after watching the two-way phenom pitch and hit through the first two weeks of spring training.
"He has a special talent, he's got a special arm," Scioscia told MLB Network. "As far as the starting pitching, he'll be one of our six in the rotation with us and if we can get out there and get him 23, 24, 25 starts or whatever it might be then we're going to be a better team."
The six-man rotation allows the Angels to accommodate Ohtani and alleviates some stress from a number of the club's starters who are coming off injuries. The Angels will be one of two teams in the majors (Texas Rangers) to deploy a six-man rotation to start the year.
The Angels have promised to let Ohtani serve as the team's designated hitter on days other than when he pitches, or the day before and after he takes the mound. A six-man rotation affords Scioscia the opportunity pencil Ohtani into the lineup roughly three times a week, but his number of at-bats will be completely dependent on how he performs as a pitcher and how he handles the workload.
"Not so much to erode what he needs to do on the mound. I think that there's a balance there that we need to find," Scioscia said. "As much as possible when he's available we're going to look at lineup options. The biggest impact that Shohei is going to have for us right now is really going to be in the rotation and we'll get him as many at-bats as we can."
Ohtani is 1-for-11 at the plate with four strikeouts and three walks this spring. He's allowed two runs (one home run) in 1 1/3 innings as a pitcher during spring training, but has also made two side appearances.