Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers and catchers aren’t due at Camelback Ranch until Thursday ahead of their first Spring Training workout the following day, but Yoshinobu Yamamoto is among those already in camp.
Yamamoto was captured by Nikkan Sports going through some individual work three days before he’s to be joined by fellow Dodgers pitchers. Shohei Ohtani, who won’t be on the mound in 2024, also has been going through workouts at Camelback Ranch this week.
Ohtani and Yamamoto spent some of the offseason together in Los Angeles but only the former attended DodgerFest last weekend. The last time Yamamoto was at Dodger Stadium during a public event came in December for his introductory press conference.
The Dodgers signed Yamamoto to a 12-year, $325 million contract that is the richest deal for a pitcher in MLB history. Among other perks included in Yamamoto’s contract details are the Dodgers not being able to option the right-hander to the Minors without his consent, full-time interpreter, personal trainer and physical therapist, hotel suite on the road, and more.
Yamamoto’s contract additionally includes multiple opt-out clauses that are tied to remaining healthy and avoiding a right elbow injury.
The 25-year-old is projected to lead a Dodgers starting rotation that has been retooled with the additions of Tyler Glasnow and James Paxton. Clayton Kershaw has also been re-signed but he won’t return from left shoulder surgery until after the All-Star break.
Over his last three seasons with the Orix Buffaloes, Yamamoto went a combined 49-16 with a 1.44 ERA and 580 strikeouts.
Freddie Freeman enjoyed Dodgers meeting with Yoshinobu Yamamoto
Shortly after the Dodgers made the signing of Ohtani official, they had a contingent welcome Yamamoto to Dodger Stadium for their free agency pitch.
The group reportedly included president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, manager Dave Roberts, Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, Will Smith and Bobby Miller.
“It was really cool. He was working out, actually, because he was right in the middle of his throwing program,” Freeman said. “I came out, talked to him a little bit on the field through an interpreter. He just has a very carefree spirit about him, wants to win, wants to work.
“It was just one of those things that the connection felt pretty good right off the bat, and hearing he was a Dodger fan too. I think we did a pretty good job, I thought. I was like, ‘Oh, I feel good about that,’ when we left. And obviously it came to fruition that he became a Dodger.
“Just a good experience, and I got to see Shohei for the first time after he signed that day too. Starting the building blocks to hopefully a really good, successful season.”
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