Dodgers Spring Training: Shohei Ohtani On Track For Cactus League Debut

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Shohei Ohtani has been the talk of Spring Training in his first year with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but is yet to make his Cactus League debut.

Ohtani has mostly been taking his schedule day by day, sometimes skipping out on live batting practice despite being a listed participant as he determines his own course to get ready for the 2024 season. Despite the occasional changes to his scheduling, Ohtani is healthy and progressing well.

Ohtani took a live batting practice at-bat against James Paxton on Saturday, but only took one swing and fouled the pitch off. However, the plan remains to get him into a Dodgers Spring Training game soon.

“Shohei is very methodical and deliberate,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He’s going to take live BP, and as we sit here on Friday, the plan is at some point in time to get him into a Cactus League game next week.

“But he’s doing great. He’s taking his swings, taking his at-bats. He does a great job, obviously, of getting himself prepared.”

The Dodgers have not confirmed which day Ohtani will be in the lineup, but Roberts added it will be in the middle of the week. Freddie Freeman also mentioned it’s coming soon, but joked he’s not going to be the one to reveal the day.

“I know Doc said sometime next week, so I’m going to keep harping on sometime next week,” Freeman said. “I’m not giving Shohei’s schedule away.”

When Ohtani is in the Dodgers lineup, it will also give insight into how Roberts is thinking of setting his top three in the lineup for the 2024 season.

Roberts said it’s a safe bet to assume Mookie Betts will hit leadoff, and the first lineup with Ohtani will be an indication of how the order is going to be set in the season.

“That’ll be a good hint as to how it’s how it’s going to look going forward, yeah,” Roberts said.

Freeman is also scheduled to play when Ohtani makes his Dodgers debut.

Shohei Ohtani targeting 50 at-bats

Ohtani recently told Roberts that he will need about 50 at-bats to prepare for the regular season. The at-bats that Ohtani needs will likely be split between Cactus League play, simulated games on the Minor League side and live batting practice sessions.

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