DENVER – The 91st All-Star Game will start exactly as it should: With a double dose of Shohei Ohtani.
The two-way superstar for the Los Angeles Angels will bat leadoff for the American League, and then minutes later take the ball to start the game on the mound, an appropriate kickoff in a year defined by the singular Japanese superstar.
Ohtani leads the major leagues with 33 home runs and a .698 slugging percentage, and also has struck out 87 batters in 67 innings, posting a 3.49 ERA and 4-1 record.
And who knows what he’ll accomplish in Monday night’s Home Run Derby?
Major League Baseball has designed a sky’s-the-limit template for Ohtani for their midsummer classic in the Mile High City, in a year it’s all come together for the international star.
MLB made an exception to its rules for this game, enabling the AL to deploy Ohtani as a pitcher but not lose the designated hitter for the remainder of the game.
“We will be allowed to use Shohei as two players,” said AL manager Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays. “He will start as pitcher and then transfer over to DH. I begged MLB for the chance to do this.”
Ohtani will be opposed by Washington Nationals starter Max Scherzer, who will make his fourth All-Star start.
“It’s must-see baseball anytime he’s on the field,” Scherzer said of Ohtani.
1. Shohei Ohtani, DH/P, Angels
2. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 1B, Blue Jays
3. Xander Boagerts, SS, Red Sox
4. Aaron Judge, RF, Yankees
5. Rafael Devers, 3B, Red Sox
6. Marcus Semien, 2B, Blue Jays
7. Salvador Perez, C, Royals
8. Teoscar Hernandez, LF, Blue Jays
9. Cedric Mullins, CF, Orioles (for injured Mike Trout)
1. Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, Padres
2. Max Muncy, DH, Dodgers
3. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Cardinals
4. Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves
5. Nick Castellanos, RF, Reds
6. Jesse Winker, LF, Reds
7. J.T. Realmuto, C, Phillies (for injured Buster Posey)
8. Bryan Reynolds, CF, Pirates (for injured Ronald Acuña Jr.)
9. Adam Frazier, 2B, Pirates
Pitcher: Max Scherzer, RHP, Nationals
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: MLB All-Star Game lineups: Shohei Ohtani starting pitcher for AL