GLENDALE, Arizona — Shohei Ohtani walked by way of his new spring coaching clubhouse carrying a easy white T-shirt with one phrase “BOSS” throughout the entrance in massive, darkish capital letters.
The 2-time Most Invaluable Participant may not be in command of these Los Angeles Dodgers, however there’s little doubt who instructions essentially the most consideration.
The 29-year-old Ohtani gave his first interview at Camelback Ranch as a member of the Dodgers on a cold Friday morning, surrounded by greater than 50 reporters who requested questions of baseball’s first and solely $700 million man.
It’s these type of scenes that make it onerous for Ohtani to be simply one of many guys.
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However he’s attempting.
“I’m on a model new group, so I’m going to behave like a rookie,” Ohtani stated by way of an interpreter. “Attempt to get together with all the blokes and teammates.”
The Dodgers had their first official exercise of spring coaching on Friday, with pitchers and catchers reporting. A number of hitters have been additionally taking batting follow, although stars like Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman haven’t but arrived at camp. The Dodgers are the primary of the 30 groups to begin spring coaching forward of their opener towards San Diego on March 20 at Seoul, South Korea.
Shohei Ohtani’s two-way superstardom is on maintain for the 2024 season whereas he recovers from elbow surgical procedure that may preserve him off the mound. However he’ll nonetheless be capable to hit — and he does that fairly properly. The three-time All-Star hit .304 with 44 homers final season regardless of lacking many of the ultimate month of the season.
Now that he doesn’t have to fret about pitching, these numbers may take one other soar.
“I really feel like there’s not only one degree, however a number of ranges forward offensive-wise,” Ohtani stated. “It simply will depend on what sort of lineup I’m in.”
All indicators level to the Dodgers having a stellar offensive lineup. Los Angeles may begin a lineup that features fellow All-Stars like Betts, Freeman, Max Muncy and Will Smith. Ohtani stated he’s able to contribute.
“My swing — effort level-wise — is nearly 100%,” Ohtani stated. “My subsequent step is dealing with dwell arms, some velocity.”
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Ohtani’s first yr of his 10-year contract is among the many storylines for the big-spending Dodgers, who allotted greater than $1 billion to free brokers. The Ohtani deal was even richer than many anticipated after which days later, Los Angeles landed right-handed pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto with a $325 million, 12-year deal.
Supervisor Dave Roberts stated he’s talked to Ohtani a couple of instances already in Arizona, however is attempting to offer him house as he adapts to new environment.
“Every little thing he does is intentional, which is fairly wonderful, however not stunning,” Roberts stated. “I feel proper now, you see quite a lot of teammates attempting to observe how he operates, be taught what makes him tick, nevertheless it takes time.
“However I’ve nonetheless acquired to pinch myself to see him in a Dodger uniform.”
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Roberts stated the Dodgers are embracing the group’s new position as the game’s model of Taylor Swift. The supervisor harkened again to his days as a participant with the San Francisco Giants in 2007, when teammate Barry Bonds was chasing the all-time profession dwelling run file, and the media was a continuing presence within the clubhouse.
“It’s onerous to disregard who he’s as a ballplayer, the contract,” Roberts stated. “However he needs nothing greater than to win, and to win as a Dodger. That’s why he selected to come back right here. I can converse for everybody within the group — we may’t be extra excited.”
Additionally on Friday, the Dodgers introduced their one-year cope with left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who returns for his seventeenth season. The deal features a participant possibility for 2025.
The three-time Cy Younger winner had surgical procedure Nov. 3 to restore his left shoulder capsule and glenohumeral ligaments, which reinforce the joint capsule. He expects to be accessible to pitch this summer time. If he decides to return in 2025, he may be part of Ohtani within the beginning rotation.
To make room for Kershaw on the roster, right-hander Tony Gonsolin was positioned on the 60-day injured record whereas recovering from Tommy John surgical procedure.
Supply: sports activities.inquirer.internet