Sign Shohei Ohtani up for the Home Run Derby. That is, if Major League Baseball will have him.
While the young Los Angeles Angels phenom hasn't been formally invited to participate, Ohtani recently went on record saying he'd love to be included in the marquee event.
"I haven't heard anything yet, but if I am asked, I'd be honored to compete in it," Ohtani said through his interpreter Sunday, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
The 24-year-old missed the opening month of the season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Since coming back on May 7 as a full-time designated hitter while rehabbing to become a two-way player again, Ohtani has authored an impressive .271/.341/.493 slash line with nine home runs.
"We haven't discussed anything," Ohtani continued when asked about whether the team would hold him back from participating in the Home Run Derby based on his medical history. "But if they do ask me, we'll have to discuss it internally with the medical staff. Of course, I'd love to play in it, but it's not only my decision. We have to see what the team says."
Ohtani earned AL Rookie of the Year honors last year while acting as a two-way player. He posted a remarkable .285/.361/.564 slash line with 22 homers over 114 games played while serving as a part-time hitter. Only six hitters with at least 350 plate appearances posted a better slugging percentage than Ohtani last year: Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, Mike Trout, Christian Yelich, Max Muncy, and Trevor Story.
So far, no hitter has been confirmed as a Home Run Derby participant, which is slated to take place July 8. That being said, Toronto Blue Jays rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has reportedly committed to compete in the event.