Dodgers News: Shohei Ohtani Hopeful Seoul Series Will Be ‘Great Experience’

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Shohei Ohtani officially begins the next chapter of his career this week when the Los Angeles Dodgers face the San Diego Padres in the Seoul Series for Opening Day of the 2024 season. The historic matchup is the first MLB regular-season games played in South Korea.

“I’m very excited to play in Korea, not just for baseball but to experience the whole culture and all of Korea,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara.

Ohtani was the main draw when the Dodgers arrived at Incheon International Airport in South Korea as hundreds of fans lined up to see the two-way star, who was accompanied by his wife, Mamiko Tanaka. “Japan and Korea have always had a great rivalry when it comes to sports and I’ve always watched the games,” Ohtani began.

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“I’ve always respected and looked up to the teams in Korea and the Korean players, so being accepted like this and welcomed is a very good feeling. I want to put on a really good show for everybody.”

While most of his Dodgers teammates have never played in Korea, Ohtani previously did so as a freshman at Hanamaki Higashi High School. “I was still in high school, so the circumstances were a little bit different from now,” he noted.

“But at the time, Korea was one of my favorite countries and I was really excited to play here. Like I said, I’m glad to be able to come back to Korea to play baseball again. Hopefully it will be another great experience.”

Shohei Ohtani starting throwing program

Ohtani won’t pitch for the Dodgers during the 2024 season, but he is on the verge of starting down a path toward returning to the mound next year.

“I know that once we get back to the States, he’s going to start his throwing program, which he hasn’t started yet,” manager Dave Roberts said.

It’s possible that if Ohtani doesn’t encounter any setbacks with throwing that he faces batters in a simulated setting during the final month of the regular season and possibly plays the field.

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