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Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani won’t play in spring training opener, but ‘he’s ahead of schedule’ in recovery

February 19th, 2024

While things are apparently going well at spring training, Shohei Ohtani isn’t ready to take the field just yet.

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed on Sunday that Ohtani won’t play in their spring training opener against the San Diego Padres on Thursday, according to The Associated Press. Ohtani didn’t participate in live batting practice on Sunday, either, as he’s still recovering from elbow surgery.

“He’s a lot further along than I think any of us — maybe not named Shohei — would have expected,” Roberts said on Saturday, via The Associated Press. “He’s worked really hard, very diligent in his work, so he’s ahead of schedule.

“What that means as far as when he’s going to play in a Cactus League game, I don’t know that answer. But it just seems like every single day, he keeps getting better and feels real good.”

Ohtani joined the Dodgers in December, signing a record 10-year, $700 million deal. He underwent surgery to repair a torn UCL in his pitching elbow in September, however, and he’s not expected to pitch again until the 2025 season.

Shohei Ohtani underwent elbow surgery in September, and is working to be ready to go for the Dodgers’ season opener on March 20 in South Korea.

Shohei Ohtani underwent elbow surgery in September and is working to be ready to go for the Dodgers’ season opener on March 20 in South Korea. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The 29-year-old, though, is planning to play as the Dodgers’ designated hitter this season. He’s attempting to be ready for their season opener against the Padres on March 20 in South Korea, too. He said earlier this month that he felt like he was “already swinging close to 100%,” and he backed that up with a wild batting practice last week, whreportedly hit 10 home runs on just 21 swings.

Ohtani, who spent his first six years in MLB with the Los Angeles Angels, had 44 home runs and 95 RBI last season, both of which were just shy of his career highs. The two-time MVP has hit .274 in his career, and he had a league-best 1.055 OPS last season.

If Ohtani isn’t ready for the Dodgers’ two games in South Korea, which are nearly one month away, the team will resume its schedule March 28 in the United States.

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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