Shohei Ohtani
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Shohei Ohtani hits record-breaking home run


Hours after Angels’ slugger/pitcher Shohei Ohtani told reporters he intended to finish out the year as the club’s designated hitter, the 24-year-old wunderkind hammered his 19th home run of the season to set a new record for Japanese rookie ballplayers in MLB.

The blast came on an 0-2 fastball from left-hander Carlos Rodon and scored David Fletcher and Mike Trout to cap a four-run spread in the third inning of Friday’s game against the White Sox. It’s also Ohtani’s fourth home run this month: He hit one out during Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to the Rangers and returned for another pair of dingers the following day.

Per’s Max Gelman, the talented DH is the first Japanese rookie to record 19 or more home runs in MLB history. The previous record-holder, former Mariners catcher Kenji Johjima, collected 18 homers during his first major-league campaign in 2006. What he managed to do in 139 games during his age-30 season, Ohtani has accomplished over just 83 games in his age-23 season.

The historic home run followed Ohtani’s announcement earlier in the day, when he told reporters that he has yet to make a decision regarding an impending Tommy John procedure on his right elbow. He’s currently weighing the pros and cons of undergoing the surgery and is expected to make a final decision sometime during the offseason. Additional comments revealed that he would like to retain his status as a two-way player once he’s fully recovered from the injury and able to pitch again; until that becomes a possibility, he’ll stay on as the Angels’ lefty DH in 2018 and appears likely to return in a limited role for the club in 2019 as well.

Nathan Eovaldi likely to be activated this weekend

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Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi is likely to be activated from the 10-day injured list this weekend and will join the bullpen, per Justin Leger of NBC Sports Boston.

Eovaldi, 29, had a superb postseason showing with the Red Sox last year, including a six-inning relief appearance in Game 3 of the World Series. That propelled him to ink a four-year, $68 million contract with the Red Sox in December.

Eovaldi underwent athroscopic surgery in April to remove loose bodies in his elbow and has been out ever since. He had allowed 14 earned runs on 21 hits and 11 walks with 16 strikeouts in 21 innings prior to going on the IL.

The Red Sox bullpen has been middling at best this season, owning a composite 4.55 ERA. Six different relievers have accrued saves, none more than Ryan Brasier‘s seven and he was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket earlier this week. It’s quite possible Eovaldi finds himself closing out games down the stretch.