Shohei Ohtani is best known for his two-way abilities, being able to pitch like an ace and also hit home runs.
But the Los Angeles Angels superstar isn’t trying to put all the emphasis on himself.
In fact, there’s a certain new teammate of his that he seems to enjoy having around.
Team Japan went up against China in a World Baseball Classic showdown early Thursday morning.
Ohtani was on the mound for Japan in this game.
However, he needed some help from his defense on a pop fly to the outfield.
That’s where St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Lars Nootbaar came in, sliding to make the catch and prompting an ovation from the two-way star.
Noot makes a sliding catch and Ohtani loves it. #Noot #TeamJapan #STLCards pic.twitter.com/DF4IerU4id
— Jim Hayes (@TheCatOnBallyTV) March 9, 2023
While Nootbaar is no Mike Trout by any stretch of the imagination, Ohtani clearly enjoys having him around.
Beyond the field of play, the two have formed a close friendship, with Nootbaar teaching Ohtani his “grind the pepper” celebration.
Ohtani and the rest of Team Japan has caught on quick and are enjoying his infectious energy, much like the Cardinals do when he’s around the clubhouse.
But Ohtani is now seeing why people in St. Louis love Nootbaar so much.
His elite defense helped Japan preserve a win in the game and kept Ohtani out of trouble.
It’s clear that Nootbaar’s energy has rubbed off on players such as Ohtani, who are relishing the moment and enjoying the opportunity to play alongside him in the World Baseball Classic this spring.
His abilities have also helped him win Ohtani over.NEXT: Angels Manager Has A Great Plan Against Mike Trout And Team USA