Dodgers Fire Shohei Ohtani’s Interpreter For ‘Massive Theft’ With Illegal Gambling

When the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Shohei Ohtani to a record-setting 10-year, $700 million contract, it was with an understanding they would also employ Ippei Mizuhara, his longtime interpreter.

Mizuhara has been Ohtani’s personal interpreter since he signed with the Los Angeles Angels in 2017. The two were perceived to have developed a strong relationship that molded into a friendship beyond Mizuhara simply helping connect Ohtani with media.

However, that no longer is the case due to Mizuhara’s alleged involvement in an illegal gambling scheme.

According to Gustavo Arellano, Adam Elmahrek, Nathan Fenno and Paul Pringle of the L.A. Times, Ohtani’s attorneys believe Mizuhara has stolen millions from Ohtani to participate in gambling:

Representatives of Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani on Wednesday accused his interpreter of engaging in a “massive theft” of the ballplayer’s funds to place bets with an allegedly illegal bookmaker who is the target of a federal investigation.

Lawyers for Ohtani made that claim after The Times learned that Ohtani’s name had surfaced in the investigation of Mathew Bowyer, an Orange County resident. Ohtani’s representatives looked into the actions of the interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, in response to The Times’ queries, a source close to the matter said. Two sources told the newspaper that the money involved was in the millions of dollars.

In light of the news, the Dodgers fired Mizuhara from his role as Ohtani’s interpreter:

The Dodgers on Wednesday fired Mizuhara, a team spokesman said.

MLB has a policy that prohibits “any player, umpire, or Club or League official or employee” from betting on baseball or making illegal bets involving other sports. If personnel is found to have participated in such acts, punishment is “such penalty as the Commissioner deems appropriate in light of the facts and circumstances of the conduct.”

Mizuhara was just seen this week alongside Ohtani and his Dodgers teammates Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman for the team’s first media availability after arriving in South Korea for the Seoul Series.

The Dodgers play the finale of the two-game set on Thursday before returning stateside for the domestic portion of their 2024 schedule.

Will Ireton is going to temporarily serve in an interpreter role for Ohtani. Ireton was Kenta Maeda’s interpreter prior to transitioning to a role in the Dodgers baseball operations department.

Who is Ippei Mizuhara?

Mizuhara was born in Japan but grew up in Southern California, where he graduated from Diamond Bar High School in 2003. He then attended UC-Riverside before first becoming connected with Ohtani while working as an interpreter for English-speaking players on the Nippon-Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).

Ohtani’s Dodgers contract does include a clause that guarantees him an interpreter, but it does not include the ability to opt out if the role isn’t handled by Mizuhara. Ohtani can opt out if Dodgers owner Mark Walter or president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman are no longer with the team.

Mizuhara spoke to the Dodgers clubhouse at Gocheok Sky Dome to take full responsibility for the gambling and clear Ohtani’s name.

Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!