ANAHEIM -- Shohei Ohtani made more history on Wednesday night, becoming the first player in MLB history to hit 30 homers and register 10 wins on the mound in the same season.
It’s something that even Hall of Famer Babe Ruth never did, as the most homers Ruth hit while winning 10 games in a season was 11 in 1918. Ohtani is also the only player in AL/NL history with at least 30 homers and 100 strikeouts in a season, a feat he also accomplished last year, when he hit 46 homers and struck out 156 batters. Ohtani, who makes his next start on Saturday against the Astros, has struck out 176 batters and is aiming to become the first player with 200 strikeouts as a pitcher and 30 homers as a hitter in the same year.
"I'm simply honored, happy and humbled to hear that,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “But I just want to stay healthy and finish strong."
Ohtani, the reigning AL MVP, is also in a heated race with Yankees slugger Aaron Judge for this year’s AL MVP Award. And he said it’s something that gives him extra drive down the stretch.
"It definitely leads to motivation to do better and try to go for that hardware,” Ohtani said. “It's something I think about. But for the most part, I take it game by game and at-bat by at-bat. At the end of the day, we'll count it all up."
WEISS, AGUILAR BROUGHT UP AS SEPTEMBER CALLUPS
Reliever Zack Weiss and outfielder Ryan Aguilar are the Angels’ two September callups, as rosters expanded by two players on Thursday. Outfielder Steven Duggar and infielder Jose Rojas were designated for assignment to make room for Aguilar and Weiss on the 40-man roster.
Weiss, who went to Northwood High School in Irvine before going to UCLA, and Aguilar, who attended Esperanza High School in Anaheim then went to Arizona, are both local products with interesting backstories.
Weiss, 30, is back in the Majors for the first time since 2018 and is looking to record his first out, as he gave up four runs in a rocky debut with the Reds and didn't reach the big leagues again until Friday. And Aguilar, 27, was a 31st-round pick by the Brewers in 2016 and didn't reach the Majors until last weekend against the Blue Jays, going 2-for-11 with a double in three games in Toronto from Aug. 26-28 before being sent back down to Double-A Rocket City.
“I liked what I saw from Aggie last week, and he’ll get some chances based on matchups,” interim manager Phil Nevin said. “And Weiss has just been throwing the ball better than anybody at Salt Lake. We like what we’ve seen and wanted to give him a chance up here.”
Weiss, who posted a 4.50 ERA with 65 strikeouts in 50 innings at Triple-A Salt Lake, said he was surprised by the callup, but he’s excited to be back in the Majors.
“It’s pretty special,” Weiss said. “It’s been about four and a half years or so. I was obviously really excited for this opportunity. But if it never came, it wasn’t going to be a failure this year. I’ve just been trying to control what I can control. But when [Triple-A manager] Lou [Marson] called me, I was over the moon and called everybody I knew.”
FLETCHER, STASSI TO PLAY FOR TEAM ITALY IN WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC
Infielder David Fletcher and catcher Max Stassi are both set to play for Team Italy in next year’s World Baseball Classic, Fletcher said Friday. Fletcher added that he’ll also be able to play with his brother, Dominic, who is a prospect for the D-backs and is on Italy’s roster. Fletcher is eligible to play for the team because his maternal grandfather was born in Italy. Hall of Famer Mike Piazza is Italy’s manager.
If Team Italy wins its group, it would play Team Japan, so Fletcher has been joking with Ohtani all week that Italy is going to beat Japan next year. Ohtani, who hasn’t officially committed to playing in the World Baseball Classic, simply smiled and laughed when Fletcher offered more trash talk on Friday.
“I think it’ll be fun,” Fletcher said. “I only played with my brother for one year in high school. I was a senior and he was a freshman [at Cypress High School], and we won it all that year. So, watch out Team Japan.”
Who was the first Angels player to start an All-Star Game as a rookie?
A.) Mike Trout
B.) Garret Anderson
C.) Jim Fregosi
D.) Wally Joyner
ANGELS ANNOUNCE 2023 SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE
The Angels released their 2023 Spring Training schedule on Wednesday, as they open up Cactus League play on March 25 against the Mariners in Peoria, Ariz. The Angels' Cactus League home opener is on March 26 against the White Sox at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
The Angels are set to play 32 spring games, including 28 Cactus League games, an exhibition game against a World Baseball Classic team on March 9 in Tempe and three Freeway Series exhibition games against the Dodgers to conclude Spring Training. As part of the Freeway Series, the Angels play at Dodger Stadium on March 26 and at Angel Stadium on March 27 and 28. They open the regular season against the A's on March 30 in Oakland.
THIS WEEK IN ANGELS HISTORY
Angels utilityman Jack Howell stunned everyone in attendance at Yankee Stadium when he hit a broken-bat home run to right field off Yankees reliever Tim Stoddard in the ninth inning of a 7-6 loss on Sept. 5, 1987. Howell came in as a pinch-hitter with the Angels down by three runs and muscled the ball over the fence for a home run. Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully was on the call and couldn’t believe his eyes, as he said it was the first broken-bat homer he’d ever seen. The Yankees wanted to check the bat, but it was determined Howell did nothing wrong. Howell said in a later interview that he still has the bat as a keepsake.
D.) Wally Joyner
Joyner was the first rookie voted in as a starter by the fans, when he was elected as the starting first baseman for the American League in 1986. Joyner quickly became a fan favorite and got off to a fast start, leading the Majors in homers through May that season. He finished the year hitting .290 with 22 homers and 100 RBIs in 154 games, finishing second in the balloting for AL Rookie of the Year behind Jose Canseco.
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