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Angels' Shohei Ohtani vies to return to Home Run Derby

Los Angeles Angels designated hitter/pitcher Shohei Ohtani watches his ball during the first round of the 2021 MLB Home Run Derby on Monday at Coors Field in Denver. Photo by Bob Strong/UPI
Los Angeles Angels designated hitter/pitcher Shohei Ohtani watches his ball during the first round of the 2021 MLB Home Run Derby on Monday at Coors Field in Denver. Photo by Bob Strong/UPI | License Photo

July 14 (UPI) -- Shohei Ohtani gathered more attention than arguably any other player through MLB All-Star week. The Los Angeles Angels slugger couldn't parlay the support into a Home Run Derby win, but plans to return to the event.

Ohtani went 0 for 2 at the plate and pitched a hitless first inning in the American League's 5-2 win over the National League in the All-Star Game on Tuesday in Denver.

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He lost in a first-round swing-off against Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto in the Home Run Derby on Monday at Coors Field.

The Angels designated hitter/pitcher leads MLB with 33 home runs this season. He said he'll need another strong start in a different season if he hopes to improve his resume at the Home Run Derby,

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"I definitely want to participate again," Ohtani told reporters Tuesday. "But for that to happen, I need to have a good first half of that season."

The 2018 Rookie of the Year also leads MLB with 210 total bases and a .698 slugging percentage. His four triples lead the American League through 84 games.

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"We are still in awe of his ability to [pitch and hit]," American League and Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters Tuesday. "He came in hyped up, gets warmed up and he was sitting in his chair catching his breath to take his at-bat.

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"The way he has handled everything makes it that much more special."

The Angels (45-44) host the Seattle Mariners at 9:38 p.m. EDT Friday at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif.

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