Dave Roberts: Shohei Ohtani ‘More Engaging’ With Dodgers Teammates Since Ippei Mizuhara Firing

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

Shohei Ohtani began his tenure with the Los Angeles Dodgers with plenty of fanfare but much of the attention has shifted dramatically amid allegations against former interpreter Ippei Mizuhara.

Mizuhara was fired by the Dodgers amid alleged theft and illegal gambling activity, to which those have ties to Ohtani’s bank accounts. Reports indicate that Mizuhara stole $4.5 million from Ohtani in attempts to cover the mounting debt.

Ohtani’s teammates, Dodgers front office members and manager Dave Roberts have been vocal in backing Ohtani since Mizuhara’s firing.

Roberts also believes he’s seen a different side of Ohtani in terms of interacting with Dodgers teammates, per Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic:

“There’s no longer a buffer, where I think that … I’ve already seen it,” Roberts said. “The last couple of days I think Shohei has been even more engaging with his teammates, and I think there’s only upside with that.”

Roberts previously noted he believes what Ohtani stated about the situation, highlighting his openness and honesty of what purportedly took place. Joe Kelly and Kiké Hernández were among the players who attended Ohtani’s press conference on Monday, and he’s spoken to players individually to answer any questions.

A positive from a club perspective is that being able to directly speak with Ohtani is important, not only for information purposes, but communication, which is a key piece to how the Dodgers operate.

Meanwhile, Ohtani and his representatives have since approached authorities over the alleged crimes, although it is unclear which agencies they reached out to.

Rob Manfred hopeful for ‘short’ Shohei Ohtani investigation

When asked about MLB’s investigation into Mizuhara’s gambling and Ohtani’s bank accounts being tied to a Southern California bookmaker, commissioner Rob Manfred emphasized the importance of the sport being cleared to maintain its integrity.

Manfred also expressed a hope MLB’s investigators would conclude their inquiry in a timely fashion rather than having the matter hover over the league.

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