“He pinched my cheek.”
Shohei Ohtani, 30, has officially joined Los Angeles Dodgers training. Wearing the Dodgers’ signature blue sweatshirt, he joined his teammates at Camelback Ranch-Glendale in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Ohtani, who has been training privately at Dodger Stadium since signing, will now train with the Dodgers as he acclimatizes to his new team.
The local media in the U.S. was also very interested in his progress. After completing his workout, Ohtani was interviewed by the local media, where he said, “I’m trying to act like a rookie because I’m in a new team. I have to get along with everyone. I will try to get along with my teammates as well.”
Ohtani’s manager, Dave Roberts, joked, “When I see him in a Dodgers uniform, he pinches my cheek.” Roberts has been at the helm of the Dodgers since 2016 and has won 753 games (443 losses) in seven years. He’s worked with a lot of superstars in his time, but none have made as much of an impact as Ohtani.
The Dodgers spent an astronomical amount of money to acquire Ohtani. The Dodgers signed Ohtani to a 10-year, $700 million contract. It broke the record for the most expensive contract in professional sports history. The previous record in North American sports was a 10-year, $450 million contract for Patrick Mahomes from the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League, and the previous record in Major League Baseball was a 12-year, $426.5 million contract for Mike Trout from the Los Angeles Angels.
While all eyes have been on Ohtani, there’s another player who has worn a Dodgers jersey for a hefty salary. That would be Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Yamamoto is a right-handed pitcher who has dominated Nippon Professional Baseball with a fastball that exceeds 150 kilometers, a cut fastball, a curveball, and a slider. The Dodgers paid Yamamoto, the “biggest free agent pitcher ever,” a 12-year, $350 million contract worth $42.28 billion. Despite being a rookie who has yet to make his major league debut, the Dodgers were confident that Yamamoto would succeed.
According to US outlet The Athletic, Roberts said: “Ohtani is a special player. And people are interested in Yamamoto as well. They’re going to make us a much better club,” Roberts said, expressing his excitement about Ohtani and Yamamoto.
Dodgers star players such as Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman were also excited to play with Ohtani and Yamamoto. The Athletic reported, “At DodgerFest, an event for Dodgers fans, Betts, Freeman and others were genuinely excited to play with Ohtani. If the Dodgers do well with Ohtani, that excitement is unlikely to wane.”
This season, Ohtani will be a designated hitter only. This is because he underwent elbow ligament reconstruction last year. If his rehabilitation process is successful, he could start pitching in 2025. Ohtani previously rehabbed his elbow while playing as a hitter in 2019. In 106 games as a hitter, Ohtani hit .286 with 18 home runs, 62 RBIs, 51 runs scored, a .343 slugging percentage, and an OPS of .848. This time around, he’ll go through the same process.
“This is not my first time rehabbing while preparing for the season. I did it in 2019. I know how to do it. This is my second time, so I feel like it 스포츠토토 will be easier. I was swinging at 100 percent in batting practice. The next step is to hit against live pitching,” he said, expressing confidence in his physical condition.
“It’s nice to be able to focus on hitting. The expectation is that he will be able to perform better at the plate than he did as a pitcher. Ohtani is confident that he can do well in his first year with the Dodgers.
This winter, the Dodgers spent more than $1 trillion of their own money to bolster their lineup. In addition to Ohtani and Yamamoto, the Dodgers added Tyler Glasnow, Manuel Margot, and Teoscar Hernandez. The Dodgers have built a super-luxury army.
There are hopes that this year will be different. According to the LA Times, President Andrew Friedman said, “We’ve been very fortunate this offseason, and we’ve seen a lot of teams win in the offseason. But the next six weeks are where it really matters,” he said, vowing to be a winner in the regular season and postseason.
Meanwhile, Ohtani, who is training normally, plans to play as a designated hitter in the MLB World Tour Seoul Series against the San Diego Padres on March 20 at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul. Some had claimed that Ohtani would not participate in the Seoul Series because he was recovering from an injury, but Ohtani himself confirmed his intention to participate.