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Angels' Ohtani wants to participate in Tokyo 2020 Olympics


Tokyo, Japan is slated to host the 2020 Summer Olympics and, with baseball back on the Olympiad's itinerary, Shohei Ohtani has expressed an interest in participating.

"As (the Olympics) are being held in Japan I have a lot of interest," Ohtani told the Associated Press on Wednesday. "As baseball is back in the program, I'd love to take part, I think that's just natural."

Back in March of 2017, commissioner Rob Manfred told Jason Coskrey of the Japan Times that he didn't believe Major League Baseball owners "would support some sort of break in our season," in order to accommodate players representing their respective nations at the Olympics.

Back in 2016, baseball was announced as one of five sports guaranteed a spot in the 2020 Olympics to help improve local interest, with no guarantee of it being included in 2024.

Baseball has been in the Olympics before - most recently during Beijing 2008. However, after a lack of interest, it hasn't been featured in the last two Summer Olympics.

Ohtani, a native of Japan, left the Nippon-Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball last year to join the Los Angeles Angels. He subsequently won the American League Rookie of the Year award while acting as a starting pitcher and designated hitter.

Over 51 2/3 innings, Ohtani authored a 3.31 ERA and 3.57 FIP while posting a .925 OPS with 22 homers in 367 plate appearances. The 24-year-old phenom wound up requiring Tommy John surgery and will act only as a DH next year while his elbow heals.

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