Scioscia: Ohtani available to pinch hit, pinch run on non-pitching days
Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia provided more insight Saturday into how he plans to use two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani this year, telling reporters the 23-year-old will be available to both pinch hit and pinch run on days he doesn't pitch.
Scioscia didn't say, however, whether Ohtani would get the opportunity to serve as the designated hitter on his non-start days.
"Normally I would never have a pitcher (pinch run) but with (our) three-man bench we're gonna tap into Shohei's ability to come off bench," Scioscia said, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
Typically, teams utilize a four-man bench, but the Angels have decided to roll with a six-man rotation in 2018 to help Ohtani acclimate to rigors of the major-league season, and will therefore roster an additional starter over a fourth bench player.
Barring any additions, Ohtani will probably be Scioscia's first choice to pinch hit and pinch run on most nights. Last year, in his injury-shortened season with the Nippon-Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball, Ohtani, a left-handed hitter, slashed .332/.403/.530 with eight home runs, 16 doubles, and a 10.4 percent walk rate across 231 plate appearances. Scouts have raved about his foot speed, too, and he's considerably more athletic than any of C.J. Cron, Rene Rivera, and Jefry Marte, who are the Angels' tentative bench players.