Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani is an early-season American League Most Valuable Player candidate. He began Thursday afternoon leading all of MLB with 14 home runs but caused concerns among analysts and fans when his pitching velocity dropped below normal during Wednesday's outing against the Cleveland Indians:
Manager Joe Maddon didn't seem too worried when speaking with reporters.
"I think, overall, he's proven this year [that when] given the opportunity to do two things, that you should listen to him," Maddon said, according to Daniel Guerrero of the MLB website. "I mean, between what he's doing at the plate and what he's done on the mound, I don't see any real reason to interfere a whole lot."
Ohtani underwent successful Tommy John surgery in the fall of 2018 and was shut down as a pitcher last summer after he recorded only five outs in his first two starts of the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign.
With three-time MVP Mike Trout sidelined for six to eight weeks due to a right calf strain, Maddon may eventually have second thoughts about how he handles Ohtani moving forward.