Shohei Ohtani Critiqued Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s First Dodgers Spring Training Start

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One day after Shohei Ohtani made his Los Angeles Dodgers Spring Training debut, he traveled with the team to watch Yoshinobu Yamamoto do the same at Surprise Stadium.

“I was very happy because I never thought he would come,” Yamamoto said through interpreter Yoshihiro Sonoda.

Albeit in a Cactus League outing, Yamamoto lived up to expectations by facing the minimum and collecting three strikeouts over two scoreless innings. The 25-year-old threw 19 pitches, 16 of which went for strike.

His start began with a strike out of Marcus Semien, to which Ohtani clapped for from the dugout railing along the third-base line.

There was then a lighthearted moment in the second inning when Yamamoto didn’t realize he had recorded the third out. Ohtani went from cheering the strikeout to emphatically and playfully gesturing for his teammate to walk off the field.

Further indication of the strong friendship they share, Ohtani offered a modest opinion of Yamamoto’s performance.

“I was so-so,” Yamamoto relayed with a laugh when asked what Ohtani said about his first Dodgers Spring Training start.

Yamamoto and Ohtani previously were teammates when leading Japan to the 2023 World Baseball Classic championship, and the two-way star joined the Dodgers’ recruiting pitch for the right-hander during the offseason.

Ohtani and Yamamoto have naturally gravitated toward each other at Dodgers camp but also immersed themselves with other teammates. Miguel Rojas recently said he hoped the process of becoming fully comfortable with the team would be accelerated by joining the Dodgers’ group text thread.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto & Shohei Ohtani learned Spanish

During Dodgers Photo Day earlier this month, Teoscar Hernández was responsible for taking fans behind the scenes and it included teaching Ohtani and Yamamoto how to speak Spanish.

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