Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers landed the biggest fish of the offseason when they signed Shohei Ohtani to a record-setting 10-year, $700 million contract.
The two-way superstar is coming off another unworldly season that saw him hit an American League-best 44 home runs in 135 games en route to his second career unanimous MVP Award.
After a historic start to his career with the Los Angeles Angels, Ohtani is looking to make a similar impact on the Dodgers. Although he won’t pitch this season, the 29-year-old is going to serve as the team’s everyday designated hitter and occupy one of the first three spots in the Dodgers lineup.
Ohtani is entering his seventh overall MLB season but said he will approach his first with the Dodgers as if he was a rookie, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“I’m on a brand new team so I’m going to act like I’m a rookie and try to get along with all the guys, and get along with my teammates,” Ohtani said through his interpreter.
Ohtani was among the first Dodgers players to report to Camelback Ranch for Spring Training and has already taken some swings against a pitching machine.
When asked about his health at DodgerFest, Ohtani expressed optimism that he would be in the Dodgers lineup when they open the 2024 regular season with the Seoul Series from March 20-21.
“I’m very confident, because we’re right on schedule,” he said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “We’re not ahead, we’re not behind. We’re right on schedule,” Ohtani said. “So as long as there’s no setbacks going forward, I should be ready.”
Shohei Ohtani ‘had a great laugh’ at recruiting videos
As Ohtani was going through the free agency process, Joe Kelly’s wife Ashley started an “Ohtake17” campaign on social media with numerous posts and videos. Kelly ended up giving Ohtani his No. 17 when he officially joined the Dodgers.
Ohtani recently discussed how much he appreciated and enjoyed all the videos Ashley created.
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