Shohei Ohtani draws praise from White Sox manager Rick Renteria
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Count White Sox manager Rick Renteria among those impressed with the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani.
“I think anybody who’s a fan of baseball likes to see somebody as exciting as he is,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘Once he’s recovered ultimately from whatever they do to correct his arm, it’s interesting to see a guy who can do a lot of different things. He can hit; he can run. Obviously he’s capable of pitching, so it’s a unique skill that he has on both sides of the baseball.”
When healthy, Ohtani has been a dynamic presence as a hitter and pitcher. Ohtani has 19 home runs and a .291 batting average to go along with a 129 ERA+ on the mound. On Sunday, he went 1-for-3 with a double and hasn’t skipped a beat as a hitter since the news that he likely will need reconstructive elbow surgery.
He’s not expected to return to the mound until 2020, but Ohtani’s success has led some to wonder whether more two-way players are coming in the future. Renteria didn’t rule it out.
“I guess if you’re that talented, maybe that’s an option that a club can take,” Renteria said.
As for how a two-way player would work out of the bullpen, Renteria had some logistical questions and used Matt Davidson as an example in a hypothetical situation.
“Matty’s playing first base, and I got to get him ready to pick up an inning,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘When do I find the time to get him ready to put in that inning? It depends on if they’re in the lineup on that particular day, so there are some logistics aspects to it that might be an issue. As a starter, obviously you know he’s going to start that day. So that would be the only thing that you would have to consider.”
Abreu is close
On the disabled list since Aug. 22 after surgery on his lower-abdominal/groin area, Jose Abreu appears close to a return. Renteria said Abreu is “feeling good” and was hoping he’d be back in the lineup Monday.
“As soon as we are assured that he feels good and our guys in the medical staff feel good about it, then we’ll go ahead and proceed,” Renteria said.
James Shields is 13„ innings away from a 200-inning season. Renteria praised Shields for his work ethic, his example to his younger teammates and his ability to take the ball when needed.
“If he can get to 200 innings, we’d be extremely happy for him,” Renteria said.
Reynaldo Lopez had a predictable reaction to the Michael Kopech news.
“As a teammate, you are always rooting for your guys, rooting for your teammates,’’ Lopez said. ‘‘He was doing great. It was tough news. We were all a little down after the news, but we are supporting him. We have his back.
‘‘He’s a very talented pitcher, and we are very confident that he’s going to come back stronger.”
The Sox haven’t announced who will start Tuesday in Kopech’s place.