Dodgers News: Shohei Ohtani Likely Skipping Home Run Derby

Shohei Ohtani hit a majestic home run to help the Los Angeles Dodgers get a win on Japanese Heritage Night at Dodger Stadium, but his power swing likely will not be on display at Globe Life Field later this month.

Ohtani indicated he’s not likely to participate in the 2024 Home Run Derby despite expressing initial interest.

“There’s been some conversations going on,” he said through interpreter Will Ireton. “I’m in the middle of my rehab progression, so it doesn’t look like I’ll be participating.”

When Ohtani first revealed he was considering taking part in this year’s Home Run Derby, he acknowledged potentially doing so was being complicated by his ongoing recovery from Tommy John surgery.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he would not tell Ohtani to skip the Derby, but readily admitted his — and the team’s — preference was that the 29-year-old instead focus on getting healthy.

“The reason he came to the Dodgers was to win a championship,” Roberts said Tuesday night. “It’s not his sole responsibility to carry Major League Baseball. … His job, he signed up to play for the Dodgers.”

Ohtani recently stretched out to 90 feet as part of his throwing program that entails playing catch from flat ground every other day.

With the new Home Run Derby format seemingly moving forward without Ohtani participating, MLB will need to assemble a field that won’t include arguably their biggest star. Thus far only Baltimore Orioles shortstop Gunnar Henderson has been revealed as taking part.

Meanwhile, Ohtani remains on track to be voted the starting designated hitter in the National League lineup for the All-Star Game being hosted by the Texas Rangers. Mookie Betts and Teoscar Hernández also advanced to Phase 2 of voting, which closes at 9 a.m. Thursday morning.

Shohei Ohtani’s Home Run Derby history

Ohtani has only appeared in the Home Run Derby once in his career, when he was eliminated by Juan Soto in the first round in 2021. Ohtani became the first pitcher to ever participate in a Home Run Derby.

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!