Dodgers Spring Training Highlights: Yoshinobu Yamamoto Faces Freddie Freeman In First Live Batting Practice

Much of the hype of Los Angeles Dodgers Spring Training has been centered around Shohei Ohtani, but Yoshinobu Yamamoto has also drawn a lot of attention after signing the largest contract for a pitcher in MLB history.

Yamamoto has been throwing controlled bullpen sessions, which brought in groups to watch that consisted of Dodgers general manager Brandon Gomes, manager Dave Roberts, Ohtani, and others.

Gavin Lux was also impressed after he stepped into the batter’s box during one of those bullpen sessions to track pitches.

The next step for Yamamoto was to throw a live batting practice session on-field to hitters, and he threw his first one on Saturday.

Yamamoto faced a group of hitters, including Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, Jason Heyward and Manuel Margot, according to Juan Toribio of

The consensus following the live batting practice was incredibly positive with Freddie Freeman giving tons of praise for his new teammate.

Yamamoto is expected to lead the Dodgers’ rotation for the next decade after signing a $325 million deal and winning three consecutive Eiji Sawamura Awards — Nippon Professional Baseball’s version of the Cy Young.

There are some concerns about Yamamoto’s stature as he stands 5’10 and 175 pounds and the new workload after pitching just once a week in the NPB, but the Dodgers are plenty confident in his talent and ability to stay healthy.

Yamamoto went 17-6 with a 1.21 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 176 strikeouts in 24 games for the Orix Buffaloes last year and relies on a repertoire that includes a splitter, high-90s fastball, curveball and cutter.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto making Dodgers debut in South Korea

As part of the MLB World Tour, the Dodgers are opening the 2024 season with a two-game series against the San Diego Padres in South Korea.

The Seoul Series will be played at Gocheok Sky Dome from March 20-21, with 7:05 p.m. local start times (3:05 a.m. PT).

While the Dodgers still have a little more than a month before their season begins, the team is already planning to start Yamamoto in one of their two opening games in Seoul.

With Yamamoto expected to take the mound in South Korea, it is likely he will be limited to a certain inning or pitch threshold as the Dodgers reportedly intend to piggyback their starters.

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