Druw Jones, Gavin Conticello Make Memories Against Ohtani

Image credit: Shohei Ohtani (Photo by Rob Tringali_WBCI_MLB Photos via Getty Images).jpg

TEMPE, Ariz. — On Tuesday, Angels ace Shohei Ohtani was in Miami, using a devastating slider to strike out Mike Trout and seal the World Baseball Classic for Japan. 

Three days later, he was back at the Angels’ minor league complex, facing a lineup of D-backs minor leaguers likely destined to begin their seasons in Class A. For Ohtani, this was business as usual, a tune-up before starting Opening Day against the Athletics. 

For those minor leaguers, though, Friday afternoon’s game could easily be counted as the biggest moments of their careers. Ohtani wasn’t pumping triple-digit heat—he sat in the low 90s as he fine-tuned his arsenal for the season ahead—but he did strike out eight hitters before he’d reached his limit of about 60 pitches. 

Arizona’s lineup featured outfielder Druw Jones, the No. 2 overall pick from the 2022 draft who, on a normal day would have been the highest-profile player on either of the two fields where games were being played. 

Against Ohtani, he was just another hitter—but the Georgia high school product and son of all-star outfielder Andruw Jones quickly made his mark. In the first of his two at-bats, Jones, 19, fisted a high and tight offering through the right side of the infield for a clean single. 

A few innings later, one of Jones’ teammates upped the ante. Third baseman Gavin Conticello, whom the D-backs selected in the eighth round of the 2021 draft out of Stoneman-Douglas in Parkland, Fla., got a hanging breaking ball from the best player on the planet and launched it over the right-field wall. 

Neither Jones nor Conticello were made available for comment. 

Both Jones and Conticello struck out in their second at-bats against Ohtani, but the moments had already been made. The two D-backs prospects will play in front of bigger crowds and likely will have more consequential moments in their careers, but no matter what happens, they can always say they faced Shohei Ohtani and came out on top. 

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