Dodgers News: Shohei Ohtani Close To Swinging Bat At Full Strength

While the Los Angeles Dodgers landed an immense talent by signing Shohei Ohtani, they aren’t yet going to reap the full benefits of having the two-way superstar on their roster.

Ohtani won’t pitch during the 2024 season due to still recovering from right elbow surgery last September. It’s been described by some as a second Tommy John surgery, but Ohtani and agent Nez Balelo have refuted that notion albeit without offering specifics.

Despite still going through the rehab process, the 29-year-old has made recent strides as he expects to be in the Dodgers lineup on Opening Day.

When discussing his health outlook over the weekend, Ohtani said he’s near full effort with swinging a bat and may soon take live batting practice or hit against high velocity off a pitching machine, per Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:

“My swing, effort level wise, is almost 100%,” Ohtani said. “It’s right about that. My next step is facing live arms or facing some velo from the machine.”

Ohtani finds himself in nearly the same position as heading into the 2019 season. Ohtani had Tommy John surgery on October 1, 2018, which prevented him from pitching until the 2020 season that was delayed because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In terms of hitting for the Los Angeles Angels in 2019, Ohtani began that season on the 10-day injured list and wasn’t activated until the first week of May.

He finished the year batting .286/.343/.505 with 20 doubles, five triples, 18 home runs and 62 RBI over 106 games.

Shohei Ohtani hits off pitching machine

Prior to Ohtani being among the position players who reported early for the start of Dodgers Spring Training, he said swinging a bat in offseason workouts to that point had been limited to hitting flips.

But that quickly changed at Camelback Ranch as Ohtani advanced to taking swings against a pitching machine at reduced velocity.

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