Dodgers Rumors: Shohei Ohtani Potentially Working Out At First Base & Outfield

Shohei Ohtani is limited to hitting in his first season with the Los Angeles Dodgers while recovering from right elbow surgery that will keep him off the mound until 2025.

Ohtani is set to serve as the designated hitter in the Dodgers lineup this year and has already shown the kind of impact he can make by homering during his 2024 Cactus League debut against the Chicago White Sox.

While Ohtani is expected to receive all of his at-bats as the Dodgers’ DH, he was recently spotted with an outfield glove and first base mitt at his locker.

That fueled speculation Ohtani could potentially play different positions this season, but manager Dave Roberts said he envisions the two-time American League MVP as the full-time DH, via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic:

“Until I hear otherwise, the only focus for me is having him DH,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Tuesday when Ohtani’s outfield glove was mentioned.

While Ohtani is unlikely to play anywhere but DH, the Dodgers may be open to him working out at different positions once his elbow is fully recovered:

But the Dodgers aren’t closing the door on him working out at different positions, league sources told The Athletic, with one source saying it’s “definitely possible” but nothing close to imminent.

The thought behind the Dodgers allowing Ohtani to work out at different positions is that it would help keep him busy and not just focused on hitting:

Having that outlet, a source said, could help Ohtani manage his time as he shuts down half his usual self for the season.

Ohtani continues to feel healthy at the plate and has maintained that he will be in the Dodgers lineup for their Opening Day matchup against the San Diego Padres in South Korea.

“I definitely feel good at the plate,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara after his first Spring Training game. “I felt better each time I got up, so it’s trending in the right direction.”

Does Shohei Ohtani have experience at other positions?

With the Los Angeles Angels, Ohtani played 8.1 career innings in the outfield, but that also came across seven games. He also played in 62 games in the outfield while in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).

Ohtani has never played first base.

Many scouts believe Ohtani could become an elite defender in the outfield, which shouldn’t surprise anyone with everything else he’s already done. His elite speed and arm strength would give him the tools needed to make an impact from the outfield, so maybe the Dodgers do experiment with it at some point.

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