Dodgers Spring Training Highlights: Shohei Ohtani Takes Batting Practice & Signs Autographs

Shohei Ohtani did not face live pitching like Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts suggested was possible, but Friday saw the two-way star electrify once again in batting practice.

Ohtani recently explained he takes on-field batting practice when needing to test out mechanical aspects of his swing, which during Dodgers Spring Training has packed plenty of power.

That continued as Ohtani slugged more home runs and appeared to be taking swings at close to full strength. The expectation remains he will be in the Dodgers lineup for their Opening Day matchup with the San Diego Padres on March 20.

After his latest batting practice session, Ohtani took time to sign autographs for Dodgers fans on hand at Camelback Ranch. He was greeted by loud cheers and fans shouting his name — sounds that have become an everyday occurrence he’s spotted on the backfields during Spring Training workouts.

The next step for Ohtani is take live batting practice and should he continue checking off boxes, it would pave the way to playing in Cactus League games that start next week.

Shohei Ohtani ‘ahead of schedule’

In addition to recovering from right elbow surgery, Ohtani had his 2023 season ended because of an oblique injury.

“He’s a lot further along than I think any of us not named Shohei would have expected,” Roberts said of Ohtani’s progression. “He’s worked really hard and is very diligent in his work. So he’s ahead of schedule.

“What that means as far as when he’s going to play in a Cactus League game, I don’t know that answer. But it just seems like every single day he keeps getting better and feels really good.”

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