Dave Roberts: Shohei Ohtani Is ‘Very Comfortable’ With The Dodgers

The beginning of Shohei Ohtani’s tenure with the Los Angeles Dodgers hit a bit of a rough patch because of the legal situation surrounding former interpreter Ippei Mizuhara.

His early play in the Seoul Series and into the regular season sparked up the question of focusing on the game being an issue. But those worries have been squashed as Ohtani is looking like his MVP self around the team as he continues to gain comfortability with his new club.

“I think he’s very comfortable,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Ohtani. “And that’s obviously more of a question for him. But I think that just getting to the ballpark, navigating that.

“As a coach, you can see players that are kind of antsy or kind of wandering around aimlessly, but he’s very comfortable where he’s going. So I don’t see any kind of anxiety or kind of uncomfortableness from him at all.”

Ohtani is once again putting up superstar numbers and could be in the running for the National League MVP award when it’s all said and done. His presence at the plate is noticeable, showcasing his ability to impact the game with power, his legs, approach, all possibly stemming from his overall comfort with the Dodgers.

Without Mizuhara around, Roberts has also noted Ohtani is more approachable and open with the rest of his teammates.

“I think we’re seeing more of that. I think there’s more conversations,” Roberts said. “And I think that in the long term, the long haul, the course of the season, is going to be very beneficial. I just see him having more conversations with everyone on the staff and his teammates.”

Ohtani has been seen being lively with his teammates, but Roberts noted that his star player is doing his best to be on the same wavelength as the rest of the team. Because of Ohtani being a full-time designated hitter, his program is different, which can be challenging.

“Yeah, It is. And we saw that with J.D. Martinez last year where his only job is to hit,” Roberts said. “So J.D. spent a lot of time in the cage. And people can say, ‘own program,’ but they’re doing what they can to get ready to help the ballclub.

“And so now you layer in the language component, and then now he’s not playing the field, he’s just hitting. So yeah, he’s a little bit on an island even more so. But to his credit, he’s engaging as much as he can to be a part of things. And so that’s something for me that I’m encouraged with.”

Ohtani’s continued work toward finding a balance with the Dodgers will become clearer as the season goes on, but initially, he’s in a fantastic space, given the outside circumstances.

How is Shohei Ohtani with his teammates?

Roberts also said that because of Ohtani’s stardom within Major League Baseball, the best route to making him feel like another one of the guys is to be themselves.

“I think the best thing that we can all do is treat him like a regular baseball player, like everyone else in the clubhouse. I think that someone that’s so unique and so talented, people tend to get tend to get tentative and shy away. But in the clubhouse, you can’t do that.”

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