Dodgers Spring Training: Shohei Ohtani Not Playing In Cactus League Opener

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Shohei Ohtani had his 2023 season cut short due to separate elbow and oblique injuries, but is making great progress in Spring Training as he prepares to be the Los Angeles Dodgers’ designated hitter this year.

Soon after Ohtani reported to Camelback Ranch, he advanced from taking swings against flips to hitting off a pitching machine. Then as the Dodgers began full-squad workouts, the two-way star started taking batting practice on the field.

While Ohtani has yet to take live batting practice, the expectation is that he will do so imminently. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently confirmed that the 29-year-old is healthy after being scratched twice from facing pitchers.

Meanwhile, Ohtani has already been ruled out from being in the Dodgers lineup for their Cactus League opener on Thursday, but Roberts said he should soon , via Jack Harris of the L.A. Times:

Roberts even noted that, while Ohtani won’t take part in the Dodgers’ Cactus League opener Thursday, he could start playing in spring training games “shortly thereafter.”

“I don’t think with Shohei that there’s a certain number of games or at-bats that he has to take to play games,” Roberts said. “I think he’s been around long enough that when he feels like he’s ready to play in a game, he’ll play in a game.”

The Dodgers’ top priority is getting Ohtani ready for the start of the regular season, which begins with the Seoul Series from March 20-21, and thus Cactus League games are less of a priority.

Ohtani is entering his seventh MLB season and knows how many at-bats he will need to catch up to game speed. He has maintained confidence that he will be in the Dodgers lineup when they take on the San Diego Padres in South Korea.

Dave Roberts praises Shohei Ohtani

With Ohtani in the middle of his first camp with the Dodgers, Roberts praised him for his fiery desire to win while also managing to stay humble.

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