Dodgers Spring Training: Yoshinobu Yamamoto Making Debut Against Rangers

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The Los Angeles Dodgers scheduled Yoshinobu Yamamoto to make his Cactus League debut on Wednesday. The right-hander is the listed pitcher for their matchup against the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium.

Yamamoto signed a record-setting 12-year, $325 million contract with the Dodgers during the offseason after winning a third consecutive Eiji Sawamura Award (Japan’s version of the Cy Young) and Pacific League MVP to end his career in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).

Yamamoto impressed in his first live batting practice session of the spring, receiving praise from the likes of Freddie Freeman and manager Dave Roberts.

The 25-year-old faced hitters again this past Thursday and has been pleased with his results so far. “I’ve been feeling good,” he said through interpreter Yoshihiro Sonoda. “I’m just pretending it’s a real game. Probably the next one is going to be a real game.”

After his start against the Rangers, Yamamoto could theoretically make two more appearances in Cactus League play before taking the ball during the Seoul Series.

Roberts has softly committed to starting Yamamoto and Tyler Glasnow in some order when the Dodgers face the San Diego Padres in South Korea next month.

Glasnow made his Spring Training debut over the weekend, and Shohei Ohtani is expected to be in the Dodgers lineup for the first time on Tuesday.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto wants to ‘keep getting better’

While Yamamoto projects to be an ace with the Dodgers, there will be somewhat of a learning curve as he is going to pitch every five or six days as opposed to his previous schedule of once per week in Japan.

Yamamoto is additionally adjusting to the MLB baseballs that are slightly bigger and slicker than the ones used in NPB. He has continued to make progress and recently said his goal is to keep getting better.

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