Shohei Ohtani hits Homer, Akiyama not on Reds opening-day roster

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Two-way star Shohei Ohtani ripped his third home run in spring training for the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday, while Cincinnati Reds outfielder Shogo Akiyama was not named in the opening-day lineup.

2021 American League MVP Ohtani batted first as the designated hitter, driving a 2-1 change to Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler down the right center wall in the fifth inning in front of a crowd of 44,000 at Angel Stadium to score a solo shot.

Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels scores a solo home run ahead of Walker Buehler of the Los Angeles Dodgers, his in the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California on April 3, 2022 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California third homer of spring . (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The Angels won 5-1 while Ohtani won 1-3 that day. The flamethrower was named the opening day pitcher for the first time in his five major league seasons ahead of the April 7 game against the Houston Astros.

Akiyama, meanwhile, faces a decision ahead of his final season of a three-year deal with Cincinnati.

“There’s not much time left before Opening Day gets closer, but I’ll try to make a decision that I won’t regret,” said Akiyama, who has options including a game for Triple-A Louisville or a potential move to another team one in Nippon Professional Baseball.

The former Seibu Lions outfielder earned a regular starting spot for the Reds during his freshman year in 2020 at left field and recorded a .357 on-base percentage during the pandemic-hit 60-game season.

But his batting average was a .204 last year from a preseason injury, and he couldn’t find his form during this year’s spring practice either, hitting a .182 after going 4-for-22 in seven games.

“He just didn’t have a lot of opportunities to play. We know he can play this game,” Reds manager David Bell told MLB.com. “It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he lands somewhere and gets an opportunity to help a major league team win.”


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