Rafu Staff and Wire Service Reports
According to reports in The New York Post and Sports Illustrated, the L.A. Angels have decided not to deal away two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani ahead of the Aug. 2 trade deadline.
The Yankees, Padres, White Sox and Mets are all said to have expressed intressed in the 28-year-old All-Star pitcher-slugger, who continues to set performance marks not seen since the days of Babe Ruth.
The struggling Angels are in a tailspin this season, despite having a roster that boasts the likes of Mike Trout (injured), Anthony Rendon (out for the year) and Noah Syndergaard. The Halos have dropped to fourth place in the AL West, 23.5 games behind Houston, after losing 42 of their last 55 games.
Ohtani is batting .255 with 22 home runs and 62 RBIs heading into play on Tuesday. On the mound, he has a 9-6 record with a 2.81 ERA and 145 strikeouts against only 23 batters walked.
Last week, Ohtani broke his silence on the persistent trade rumors, commiting only to doing his best for his current team.
“Regardless of where I’m playing, I’m going to give it my all and try to win that ballgame in front of me,” he told ESPN. “I’m with the Angels right now, and I’m very thankful for what they’ve done. I love my team and my teammates. Right now I’m an Angel, and that’s all I can focus on.”
Ohtani will be a free agent after the conclusion of next season, unless the Angels work out a new deal with the Japanese phenom. During his five years in Anaheim, the Angels have never finished above .500 and have not earned a playoff berth.
On Sunday, Ohtani had two hits and a pair of walks for the Angels, who dropped the finale of a four-game series against the Texas Rangers 5-2.
Ohtani tripled and came around to score the Angels’ opening run on a Luis Rengifo single in the first inning at Anaheim Stadium as the Angels took a 2-1 lead through the fourth.
Ohtani also singled on a 2-for-2 day but the team lost their third game of the four in the series to fall to a 6-18 record in July.
Elier Hernandez hit an RBI sacrifice fly off Los Angeles starter Reid Detmers to tie the game in the fifth, and Texas scored three more runs in the ninth, when Jose Quijada (0-3) loaded the bases and Raisel Iglesias gave up a bases-clearing double to Ezequiel Duran.
Ohtani, who has nine wins, was scheduled to pitch on Wednesday in the second game of a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics. Getting to double-digit wins would make him the first player since Babe Ruth to have 10 wins as a pitcher and 10 home runs as a hitter in the same season.
In New York on Sunday, Kyle Higashioka had a hit and an RBI in two at-bats, but the Yankees failed to complete a four-game sweep of the visiting Kansas City Royals, 9-7.
At PNC Park, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo went 1-for-4 with an RBI for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who were defeated by the Philadelphia Phillies 8-2.
In Washington, Lars Nootbaar went 1-for-3 at the plate, as his St. Louis Cardinals blanked the host Nationals, 5-0.
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In San Francisco on last Saturday, Seiya Suzuki went 1-for-5 with an RBI for the Chicago Cubs, who came up short after rallying late in a 5-4 loss to the Giants.
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Yusei Kikuchi returned from the injured list on Thursday, and pitched five strong innings to help the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Detroit Tigers 5-3.
Kikuchi allowed one run on two hits, including a game-opening solo shot to Willi Castro, and one walk with five strikeouts, to pick up his first win since June 30. He had been on the 15-day IL with a neck strain.