Dave Roberts Prefers Shohei Ohtani Skips 2024 Home Run Derby

Shohei Ohtani is in the midst of an MVP-caliber season with the Los Angeles Dodgers despite being limited to hitting due to his ongoing recovery from Tommy John surgery.

The 29-year-old leads the National League with a .322 batting average, 25 home runs, .643 slugging percentage, 1.045 on-base plus slugging and 65 runs scored in 79 games this year.

One of the game’s most prolific sluggers, there has been speculation as to whether Ohtani will participate in the 2024 Home Run Derby at Globe Life Field on Monday, July 15.

Ohtani is still in the midst of deciding, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts hopes he passes on the opportunity, via Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times:

“For the game, I think it’s great, for the workload part of it, I’d probably not want him to do it,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said before Wednesday night’s series finale against the White Sox. “For me, I think ultimately I will just defer to him.

“No one can argue that a manager wouldn’t want their player to swing as hard as he can for essentially 45 minutes when [that player] is supposed to be on a break, right? But the other side is, obviously, he’s the biggest star in the game, and it makes [the derby] more attractive. So I think whatever he decides, I’ll support it.”

Roberts believes Ohtani’s recovery from a second elbow surgery complicates things, but will support whatever choice he makes:

Roberts said a conversation with Ohtani about the derby, which will be held on July 15 as part of All-Star Game festivities at Texas, “is gonna happen,” and that Ohtani’s rehabilitation from surgery definitely complicates things.

“I don’t ever want to be the guy that says you can’t do it, because I wouldn’t want to have somebody tell me I couldn’t do it,” Roberts said. “But the surgery adds a different component. It’s rounds and rounds of [swings].”

Ohtani previously participated in the 2021 Home Run Derby at Coors Field, where he lost to Juan Soto in the first round. The two-time American League MVP still put on a show as he hit 28 home runs, with six of them traveling over 500 feet.

Even if Ohtani passes on participating in this year’s Derby, he still figures to be part of the All-Star festivities in Texas.

Ohtani is one of three Dodgers who advanced to Phase 2 of fan voting. If selected, it will be Ohtani’s fourth career All-Star Game appearance since making his MLB debut in 2018.

Shohei Ohtani breaks Dodgers record

Ohtani has been on a tear as of late and set a new Dodgers record for consecutive games with at least one RBI as his streak reached 10 on Wednesday night.

Ohtani achieved the milestone with a leadoff home run, his second game in a row opening the night with a long ball.

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