Ohtani gets historic dual role in All-Star Game

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Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani will make history on Tuesday after being named as both the starting pitcher and leadoff hitter for the American League team in Major League Baseball's All-Star game in Denver.

Ohtani, who has electrified baseball this season with a league-leading 33 home runs, is the first player in the history of the All-Star game to be selected as a position player and pitcher.

American League manager Kevin Cash said he had lobbied Major League Baseball to allow for Los Angeles Angels ace Ohtani to be used in a dual role after he was voted in as both designated hitter and one of five starting pitchers.

"I think we would all respect what he's done and meant to our game this year," Cash said ahead of Tuesday's All-Star game.

"This is what the fans want to see. It's personally what I want to see. And to have the opportunity to do something that's a generational talent, pretty special."

Ohtani took part in the Home Run Derby on Monday, just losing a close showdown with Washington Nationals slugger Juan Soto in the first round.

The clash went to an extra sudden death round, and Soto hit homers on all three of his swings, while Ohtani was eliminated on his first swing when he blasted a line drive to right field.

The final score was Soto with 31 home runs and Ohtani 28.

New York Mets star Pete Alonso defended his crown, beating Baltimore Orioles Trey Mancini in the final.

Ohtani said he had been surprised at being named for a dual role.

"I was actually not expecting to be chosen as a pitcher at all. To be named the starter, I was really not expecting that at all," Ohtani said.

"It's a huge honor and I'm going to try my best," the 27-year-old added.

Ohtani's dazzling campaign has impressed the Washington Nationals' pitcher Max Scherzer, who will start on the mound for the National League.

"Just the fact that he can pitch; the demands on your body to be a pitcher are intense to say the least, I can definitely speak to that," Scherzer said.

"So to be able to shoulder those workloads and also be able to hit as well, that's just absolutely incredible. It takes an unbelievable athlete to be able to accomplish that and that's what he is.

"That's why I feel like you're seeing some of these historic things come out of this first half and what he was able to do. He's must-watch baseball any time he's on the field."


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