Shohei Ohtani Wants To ‘Prove’ Himself With Dodgers

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Shohei Ohtani is a global superstar who accomplished plenty on an individual level throughout his six seasons with the Los Angeles Angels. But the spotlight has grown since Ohtani signed a record-setting 10-year, $700 million contract with the Dodgers in a deal that included a staggering amount of deferred salary.

Ohtani is beginning his Dodgers career as the main draw for the Seoul Series taking place from March 20-21. Interest in the Japanese native went into overdrive when Ohtani posted a photo with his wife, revealing her to be former basketball player Mamiko Tanaka, as the Dodgers boarded their chartered flight.

“I don’t want to say I’m used to the attention, but I just try to focus on what’s in front of me,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “Whatever it is, if it’s practice or games, whatever is in front of me, that’s all I’m focused on.”

Ohtani was part of a press conference that included Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts later spoke as well before the team held their first official workout at Gocheok Sky Dome.

“I’m also very excited to play in Korea, not just for baseball but to experience the whole culture and all of Korea,” Ohtani added.

While being the de facto face of a franchise is nothing new to the 29-year-old, Ohtani reiterated not taking anything for granted with the Dodgers.

“I appreciate all the attention. Obviously, attention is always great, being a baseball player. Being able to play with these great guys next to me, just really excited,” he said.

“I still need to be part of the team and I want to prove to everyone that I’m actually a Dodger now.”

Feeling as though there is a need to perform well for the Dodgers was a sentiment Ohtani expressed when speaking with media at DodgerFest in January.

“I still haven’t played games in a Dodgers uniform, so I still need to prove to myself, prove to fans and prove to everyone in the Dodgers organization that I’m worthy of being a Dodger,” Ohtani said at the time.

If Spring Training was any indication, MLB’s only two-time unanimous MVP winner is primed to continue adding onto what’s been an excellent career.

Shohei Ohtani declines to discuss marriage

Ohtani publicly revealing the identity of his wife made headline news across the world and was among the topics broached during the Dodgers’ press conference.

“I answered a lot of the marriage questions in an interview earlier, so I don’t want to really get into details here,” said Ohtani, referencing when he provided media with sparse wedding details while speaking at Camelback Ranch.

“But it is her first time coming with me to a game like this, so I think it’s going to be really great memories for both of us. Like I said earlier, I have one job to focus on. That’s baseball.”

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