Asked if he still wants to be with the Angels after the trade deadline next week, Ohtani, last year’s AL MVP, equivocated a bit in translator Ippei Mizuhara’s relay of his answer.
“Regardless of where I’m playing, I’m going to give it my all and try to win that ballgame in front of me,” Ohtani said. “I’m with the Angels right now, and I’m very thankful for what they’ve done. I love my team and my teammates. Right now I’m an Angel, and that’s all I can focus on.”
Ohtani, who turned 28 earlier this month, is set to become a free agent after the 2023 season. He has spent all five of his MLB seasons with the Angels, finishing below .500 and missing the playoffs each year.
On Thursday night, Ohtani (9-6) repeatedly pitched out of trouble while racking up 11 strikeouts, his sixth consecutive start with double-digit strikeouts, but he also yielded eight hits and two runs over six innings. He lost his second straight start while pitching with a chance for his career-best 10th mound victory.
Ohtani leads the majors with nine double-digit strikeout performances. He pitched six scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts in Atlanta last week before the Braves tagged him for six runs in the seventh in an 8-1 loss.
Thursday’s loss dropped the Angels 22.5 games behind the first-place Houston Astros in the AL West.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.