LEADING OFF: Ohtani 1st HR Derby entrant, Buehler vs D-backs
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
Japanese two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani is the first confirmed competitor for the All-Star Home Run Derby at Denver’s Coors Field on July 12, and others could be announced soon. The Los Angeles Angels star will be the first Japanese-born player in the derby, held the night before the All-Star Game.
The 26-year-old outfielder, designated hitter and pitcher homered twice Friday and has 21, one behind major league leaders Fernando Tatis Jr. of San Diego and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of Toronto. Ohtani is hitting .273 with 50 RBIs, and he is 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 10 starts.
Ohtani won Japan’s home run derby in 2016, when he also was MVP of the second of Japan’s two All-Star Games.
He will become the seventh Angels player in the derby, including Vladimir Guerrero, who won the 2007 derby.
Los Angeles Dodgers ace Walker Buehler is 6-0 with a 2.38 ERA in 13 starts this season going into his outing at the Arizona Diamondbacks and Brad Peacock (2-4, 5.26). Buehler is 2-0 with a 2.47 ERA in nine starts against Arizona, including seven scoreless innings during a May 17 win at Dodger Stadium in which the only hit he allowed a one-out single in the first to Josh Rojas.
Oakland’s Chris Chris Bassitt (7-2, 3.43 ERA) is 7-0 with a 3.11 ERA in his last 12 starts, a career-best winning streak, going into a start at Yankee Stadium against New York and Domingo Germán (4-4, 3.88). Bassitt has held batters to a .203 average during that stretch. He is 4-0 with a 3.98 ERA in seven road starts.
Baltimore’s Dean Kremer is 0-7 with a 6.59 ERA in 13 starts since beating the New York Yankees in his major league debut on Sept. 6. Kremer starts Saturday against Toronto and rookie Alek Manoah, who has three no decisions since winning at Yankee Stadium in his debut on May 27.
The pace of coronavirus vaccinations in Major League Baseball has slowed, with no additional teams in the past week joining the 22 that had already reached the the 85% vaccination threshold for players and other on-field personnel.
Major League Baseball and the players’ association said Friday that 85.3% of tier 1 and 2 tier individuals had been fully vaccinated and 86.5% had received at least one dose. Previous weekly announcements included just tier 1, and MLB said on June 11 that 83.5% had been fully vaccinated and 85.1% had been partially vaccinated.
Once a team reaches 85% vaccinations among tiers 1 and 2, it has the option to apply loosened protocols to tier 2.
Among changes to protocols made Wednesday, all fully vaccinated players and staff can stop wearing masks in dugouts, bullpens and clubhouses. In addition, fully vaccinated players and staff may eat in restaurants without restrictions and attend sporting events as spectators at venues with government approved safety protocols, the commissioner’s office and players’ association said in a memo sent Wednesday night.
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