He won’t pitch, but Twins’ eyes locked in on Shohei Ohtani

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Twins won’t get the full Sho during their trip to Anaheim — Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani is not scheduled to pitch this weekend — but they’ll still have their eyes locked on him all weekend.

While there was some chatter of him being dealt at the deadline with the Angels well out of contention, they did not wind up doing that, giving the Twins their first look this season at baseball’s most unique talent.

“He’s one of the few guys that even when you’re on the other side of the field, your eyes are drawn to him on the field and he’s just incredibly impressive, really in everything he does,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “My eyes will be on him and hopefully it’s not him moving around the bases in any way, but I’ll be watching.”

Ohtani unanimously won last year’s American League Most Valuable Player Award, and he’s been similarly impressive this year as he vies for the award in back-to-back seasons.

The 28-year-old has posted a 2.68 earned-run average this year, striking out 157 batters in his 111 innings pitched. At the plate, he had 25 home runs coming into Friday’s contest, with a .847 OPS.

Twins shortstop Carlos Correa, who is 1-for-7 against Ohtani in his career, said he loves facing him, loves watching his approach, and he loves watching him make history night in and night out.

“I think he’s one of the best players to ever put on a uniform,” Correa marveled. “He’s definitely the most talented. When you look at what he brings to a team, he can go out there and throw eight shutout innings and he can go out there and hit two homers a night, and he can steal a base whenever he wants. He’s just different. We’ve never seen anything like it.”

OFF-DAY ACTIVITIES

The Twins didn’t have many off days in their schedule early this season — they had just two in the whole month of May — so they’re making up for that now.

Two off days in one week in Southern California afforded Twins players and staff members a chance to get out and explore the area. The second one came after a tough trip to Los Angeles in which they were swept by the Dodgers, and Baldelli hoped it served as a good “recharge” for the group.

Baldelli ventured to a local book shop, picking up a few books for his young daughter, some members of the traveling party took a trip to the Oakley World Headquarters and the most popular activity was a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth.

Perhaps no one enjoyed his day more than Correa, who went to Disneyland with his wife, Daniella, young son, Kylo, and his in-laws, staying from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Correa particularly enjoyed Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and the Avengers Campus, and said he rode Space Mountain multiple times. He called it “one of the best off days,” of his career.

“I had to take the kid out there, see the smile on his face, see him just yelling at the characters and everything,” he said. “It was a lot of fun. It was more fun for me than it was for him. Obviously, he’s still too young. But I’m a kid at heart and I love all that type of stuff, so I had a blast. I didn’t want to leave. We left not because we were tired. We left because the baby had to go to sleep.”

BRIEFLY

Byron Buxton was back in center field for the first time since July 31 on Friday. Buxton further aggravated his knee on a play in the outfield in San Diego. … Trevor Larnach (core muscle) went through his hitting and throwing progression on Friday in Fort Myers, Fla., with no issues. Bailey Ober (groin) threw a 25-pitch bullpen with his full pitch mix on Friday with no complaints, and Kenta Maeda (elbow) also threw a successful 30-pitch bullpen. … Former Twins reliever Tyler Duffey has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers.

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