Shohei Ohtani achieved a first in the near century history of baseball's All-Star Game: selection as both a hitter and a pitcher.
The Los Angeles Angels' two-way sensation was among the American League starting pitchers picked Sunday for the July 13 showcase at Denver's Coors Field. Ohtani, who leads the majors in home runs, had already been elected by fans to start as the AL's designated hitter.
The Boston Red Sox have the most All-Stars for the first time since 2009, sending five. Designated hitter J.D. Martinez, starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and reliever Matt Barnes were chosen to join a pair of starters: shortstop Xander Bogaerts and third baseman Rafael Devers.
Ohtani received 121 votes in balloting by players, managers and coaches announced three days after fan-elected starters were revealed.
"The guy's going to participate in Home Run Derby, pitch in the game and hit in the game. That doesn't happen like, ever," Angels manager Joe Maddon said after speaking with AL skipper Kevin Cash of Tampa Bay. "So this is the one time ... even the non-baseball fan can really latch onto this and become interested."
Babe Ruth's pitching days were largely behind him by the time the All-Star Game started in 1933. Ruth made one pitching appearance that year, the final one of his career on the last day of the season. He last pitched with regularity in 1919.
Ohtani is hitting .278 with a major league-leading 31 home runs and 67 RBIs. He is 3-1 with a 3.60 ERA and 83 strikeouts over 60 innings in 12 starts on the mound.
The Angels did not make Ohtani available to media Sunday, and Major League Baseball has not reopened clubhouses to reporters since the start of the pandemic.
The team issued quotes from Ohtani in which he said: "It's my first time so I just want to enjoy everything. There's also the Home Run Derby, so I'm looking forward to taking it all in and enjoy everything.''