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Ohtani back on the Big A mound

Ohtani back on the Big A mound

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Shohei Ohtani threw competitive pitches off the mound at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, on Tuesday for the first time in two years.

Ohtani struggled with his control in the Angels' intrasquad game, walking eight batters on about 50 pitches. The two-way star and manager Joe Maddon weren't overly concerned about the results of another key day in Ohtani's return from Tommy John surgery.

"I was able to throw all my pitches today, so I'm just going to try to build on that," Ohtani said through a translator. "Obviously it felt a lot different from my bullpens, especially because I was unfamiliar with pitching to my teammates. That kind of threw me off a little bit."

Ohtani hadn't pitched at the Big A since June 9, 2018, when he left a game with what was initially called a blister. Ohtani was shut down as a pitcher for three months, and the AL Rookie of the Year only returned for one outing in September before it was determined he needed elbow surgery.

"I just saw a guy that didn't have good rhythm in his delivery," Maddon said. "He just wasn't as sharp as he can be, obviously."

Ohtani served solely as a designated hitter for the Angels last season, hitting .286 with 18 homers and 62 RBIs. He intends to resume his two-way career when the majors' 60-game regular season begins later this month.

Ninth opening start for Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw will make his franchise-record ninth opening day start for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Manager Dave Roberts confirmed his choice Tuesday in a video conference call. The Dodgers open the 60-game season on July 23 at home against the San Francisco Giants. Kershaw was tabbed to start opening day against the Giants on March 26 before the season was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The 32-year-old left-hander tossed four innings in the Dodgers' second intrasquad game Monday night. He struck out new teammate Mookie Betts on a called third strike by umpire Bob Geren, the team's bench coach who was working the plate. Kershaw threw another inning in the bullpen.

Kershaw's streak of opening day starts ended last year when he began the season on the injured list with left shoulder inflammation. He was replaced by Hyun-Jin Ryu, who signed with Toronto in December.

Kershaw is 5-1 with a 1.05 ERA on opening day.

The team's rotation was upended when new Dodger David Price said he would sit out the season. He was expected to be the No. 3 starter behind Kershaw and Walker Buehler. Julio Urias and Alex Wood were expected to fill out the back end.

Source: Mets vs. Yankees on 9/11/21

The New York Mets will host the crosstown Yankees at Citi Field on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 next season, according to a person familiar with the decision.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Major League Baseball has not yet released next season's schedule.

"I can't imagine how powerful and how emotional of an event that could be," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

The decision was first reported by Newsday.

The Yankees and Mets won't have to wait that long to see each other. The teams announced Tuesday they will play preseason exhibition games July 18 at Citi Field and July 19 at Yankee Stadium as they prepare for the start of a pandemic-shortened 60-game regular season.

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