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24.04.2019 05:50
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TOKYO (AP) — Shohei Ohtani says it didn’t take him long to realize he was competing at a much higher level during his first season in Major League Baseball.Ohtani returned to Japan and held a news conference at the National Press Club [url=]Justin Grimm Jersey[/url] , where he spoke at length on his first season with the Los Angeles Angels.“Everything was different — the baseball, the culture,” Ohtani said Thursday. In the baseball, “I was aware right away of a higher level of power, technique and speed.”Ohtani won American League Rookie of the Year earlier this month despite an elbow injury that disrupted his switch from Japan to the major leagues and likely will prevent him from pitching next year.He didn’t play between June 4 and July 3 because of a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, an injury the Angels were aware of when they signed him last winter.The 24-year-old right-hander had Tommy John surgery on Oct. 1 and hopes to be able to help the Angels at the plate next season. He probably won’t take the mound again until 2020.In an indication that he plans to continue both pitching and batting, Ohtani said having surgery made the most sense.“I’m glad I had the surgery,” Ohtani said. “Of course, there was some reluctance over whether to have it but considering the long term I decided it was necessary.”As a pitcher, Ohtani was 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA and 63 strikeouts over 51 2/3 innings in 10 starts. As a designated hitter, he batted .285 with 22 homers and 61 RBIs and a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances.Ohtani was also asked about the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where his sport is making a return after being dropped after the 2008 Beijing Games.Players from MLB are unlikely to take part as the league has said it will not shut down its season for the Olympics.“As (the Olympics) are being held in Japan I have a lot of interest,” Ohtani said. “As baseball is back in the program [url=][/url] , I’d love to take part, I think that’s just natural.”The questions weren’t all game-related. On a lighter note, Ohtani said he has no immediate plans to get married and that he won’t be able to give an acceptance speech in English for his Rookie of the Year Award. PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke’s glass will be half-full this season. And gleaming.“My goal this year is to not complain about anything,” Greinke said. “There are a lot of things that when you get my age that you could complain about. Not throwing as hard. Not feeling as good. Not running as fast. I’m just trying to think positive and not let negative thoughts creep into your mind.”Greinke, 35, will make his fourth opening day start against the six-time defending NL West-champion Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday, marking the beginning of his 16th season.Greinke has won 45 games in his three seasons with Arizona after signing a six-year, $206.5 million free agent contract in the winter of 2015, and he came within one strikeout of his sixth career 200 strikeout/200 inning season last year. Since 2008, only Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Felix Hernandez have more than five.“It’s nice,” Greinke said of his opening day assignment. “I don’t really care about that stuff as a sentimental thing. I like pitching a lot, so it gives me the best chance to make 33 [url=]Blaine Boyer Jersey[/url] , 34 starts. I like that part of it.”Greinke has made at least 32 starts in every injury-free season since 2008, and he has won at least 10 games in all 11 seasons since. Greinke, Orel Hershiser and Fernando Valenzuela are the only three pitchers in major league history to win Cy Young, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards.The ability to take on a heavy workload “is part of the job,” Greinke said.“I hope it continues that way for the next 50 years, where that is the goal of the team and players to make their starts,” he added. “It’s what your job is. Look forward to that. Hope to do that every year.”Greinke, 15-11 last season after pitching through right shoulder soreness in the first month or so, said he had no health issues this spring.“Hopefully it stays that way,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll get a lot of outs, but a long way to go.”Greinke has stayed competitive by adjusting his attack as his velocity dipped slightly. Greinke’s fastball averaged a career-low 89.6 mph last season, according to FanGraphs. He compensated by throwing a slightly higher percentage of curveballs and changeups while moving away from his slider and cut fastball.The curve and changeup graded out as his most effective pitches, and he led the majors with 37 strikeouts on pitches timed at 70 mph or less thanks to a slow [url=][/url] , slow curve that lands at 65-66.“The way I look at right now is, if I throw 88-89 (mph) and command it, that’s better than 89-90 with a little bit less command,” Greinke said. “I’d rather try to command what I have. Whatever is working, I keep doing. Some things work a little bit differently each year, and I just try to see that.”Arizona manager Torey Lovullo has followed Greinke’s adjustments firsthand.“He came up as a 95-96 (mph) fireballer who has learned how to pitch over the course of the last 12, 13 seasons,” Lovullo said.“He gets outs with every pitch, which is really, really impressive. He is attacking weaknesses. He has a really good game plan . as good as anybody I’ve ever seen. There is a reason for it, and that is all the hard work he puts in behind the scenes.”

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