Ohtani opts out of the Home Run Derby

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles Angels designated hitter/starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani hits during the 2021 MLB Home Run Derby in Denver, CO, on Jul. 12, 2021.

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani, who will be making his second appearance in the Major League All-Star Game, will not be returning to the Home Run Derby held the day before, it was learned Thursday.

Ohtani, who was selected for the All-Star Game on July 19 at Dodger Stadium as a pitcher and designated hitter for the second straight year, was not among eight participants for the Home Run Derby announced by MLB. Ohtani was reportedly invited but declined to participate.

Last season, Ohtani became the first Japanese to take part in the home run-hitting contest. He wowed the crowd with several towering home runs, but lost in an intense first-round matchup to Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals.

Ohtani will go into the All-Star break on a dominant streak. He has won his last six mound starts, giving up only two earned runs. Overall, he is 9-4 in 15 starts with a 2.38 ERA and 123 strikeouts over 87 innings.

At the plate, he is batting .258 with 19 home runs and 56 RBIs.