Wilson Ramos makes even more history in his second game

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Sunday afternoon Wilson Ramos went 4-for-5 against the Indians to become the 12th player in baseball history and the first since 1998 to have four hits in his MLB debut. For an encore he went 3-for-4 with two doubles last night versus the Tigers, becoming the eighth player to ever collect three or more hits in each of his first two games.
The other seven: Joe DiMaggio, Enos Slaughter, Hub Walker, Preston Wilson, Guy Sturdy, Charlie Bates, Coaker Triplett. DiMaggio and Slaughter are Hall of Famers and Wilson was an All-Star, but amazingly Walker, Sturdy, Bates, and Triplett combined for just 542 total hits after the great two-game stretches to begin their careers.
No player has ever had three or more hits in each of his first three games, so if Ramos has another big game tonight against the Tigers he can probably just start writing his Hall of Fame speech (if he hasn’t already). And all after he hit .179 at Triple-A before the call-up, including 0-for-8 in his final two games.

Starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani will pinch-hit and pinch-run for the Angels in 2018

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The Angels’ bench is looking woefully thin this winter — so thin, in fact, that manager Mike Scioscia says he’s considering utilizing starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner on the days he’s not scheduled to pitch.

I’ve never had a pitcher pinch-run,” Scioscia told reporters Saturday. “There’s more bad than good that can come out of it. But Shohei is not just a pitcher. He’s a guy that has the ability to do some of the things coming off the bench, whether it’s pinch-hit or pinch-run, and we’re definitely going to tap into that if it’s necessary, because we feel we’re not putting him at risk. It’s something he’s able to do.

Granted, spring training allows for a certain amount of experimentation before managers and players decide what works best for them, so this may not be the strategy the Angels employ for the entire season. In addition to coming off the bench between starts, Ohtani is also expected to see 2-3 days at DH every week, forcing Albert Pujols to shift over to first base to accommodate the new two-way star.

Ohtani’s hitting prowess has already been well-documented — he has a lifetime .286/.358/.500 batting line from NPB and crushed a batting practice home run during his initial workouts with the team this week — but his skills on the basepaths have received less attention so far. MLB Pipeline describes the 23-year-old phenom as a “well-above average runner” whose speed has yet to manifest stolen bases: he’s nabbed just 13 bases in 17 chances over the last five years. That’s a number Scioscia hopes to see increased this season, though he doesn’t want his ace pitcher making any head-first slides on the basepaths to do so.

To be sure, it’s an unorthodox role for any young player to step into, but if anyone can pull it off, Ohtani can.