Dodgers Spring Training: Dave Roberts Praises Shohei Ohtani For ‘Modesty’ & Competitive Nature

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The Los Angeles Dodgers sent shockwaves through Major League Baseball with their signing of Shohei Ohtani to a 10-year, $700 million contract, which is the largest deal in professional sports history.

Ohtani joined the Dodgers after being unable to reach the playoffs in his first six MLB seasons with the Los Angeles Angels. That was despite the two-way star consistently putting up unworldly numbers and winning two American League MVP Awards during the span.

Leading into the free agency process, Ohtani had said his biggest priority is winning a World Series. He now will help lead a Dodgers team that has made 11 consecutive postseason appearances.

Manager Dave Roberts praised Ohtani for his desire to win while also managing to stay humble, via Dylan Hernández of the L.A. Times:

While complimenting Ohtani for his modesty, Roberts also said, “There’s a lion in there.” The manager continued, “For me, that’s the perfect combo. I’m really excited to learn more about him.”

Ohtani is the best baseball player in the world but never brags about his success and would rather shine the spotlight on his teammates.

The 29-year-old is a team player through and through, and he immediately made that evident by agreeing to earn only $2 million per season over the length of his contract.

Ohtani accepted the unprecedented deferrals so that the Dodgers can use the savings to continue adding elite talent to their roster. After bringing in Ohtani, the team went on to sign the likes of Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Teoscar Hernández and James Paxton and Clayton Kershaw.

Ohtani was among the first players to report to Camelback Ranch for Spring Training and started hitting against a pitching machine, but not at full velocity. He advanced to taking batting practice on the field Monday, which saw him slug 10 home runs over two rounds of swings.

“I feel really good overall,” Ohtani recently said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “I was swinging the bat really strong and there were some good results.”

Ohtani reiterated that he expects to be in the Dodgers lineup when the regular season begins in South Korea. “I was planning on swinging on the lighter side but the swings were feeling really good, which is a really good sign,” he began. “I think it’s trending toward me being ready for Opening Day.”

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