Dodgers Spring Training: Coaching Staff & Players Excited For Shohei Ohtani’s Debut

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The Los Angeles Dodgers host the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday at Camelback Ranch, still without a loss in the early parts of Spring Training.

A different aura is on the air, however, with Shohei Ohtani making his Dodgers debut. After logging three at-bats in his latest round of live batting practice on a backfield, Ohtani continues to inche closer to being ready for the season.

Ohtani’s regimen has been very deliberate and methodical, according to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. That has helped build the anticipation in camp, which is felt throughout the organization, per Doug Padilla of the Southern California News Group:

“Sho is excited to get out there and play some baseball,” Roberts said. “The plan is to get him two, three at-bats, whatever he feels is good enough for that day. But yeah, I think that for all of us as coaches, players, and certainly the fans, we are excited to see Shohei don that Dodger uniform.”

The Dodgers signed Ohtani to a 10-year, $700 million contract that broke records in terms of overall value despite his deferred money taking a lot of the headlines. Ohtani’s status as a hitter is the main focus this year as he continues his recovery from elbow surgery late last season.

Ohtani is set to hit second in his Dodgers debut, sandwiched between Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman in the lineup, which is how Roberts is likely to set the order moving forward and into the regular season as well.

Shohei Ohtani ‘right on schedule’

Although Ohtani is slated to get his first game swings on Tuesday, he feels generally good about where his progression is.

The Dodgers have kept Ohtani’s schedule relatively guarded, but the hope is that with around 50 at-bats, he’ll be ready for Opening Day when they travel to South Korea for the Seoul Series in March. His semi-delayed start to spring games isn’t concerning as Ohtani believes his status is where it should be.

“I don’t really feel like it’s ahead of schedule,” Ohtani recently said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “I feel like we’re right on schedule, which is a really good thing. My body is reacting really well so far. So everything is trending in the right direction.”

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