Dodgers Spring Training: Shohei Ohtani Expected To Play In Cactus League Games

Shohei Ohtani was among the first Los Angeles Dodgers players to report to Camelback Ranch for Spring Training, and the two-way star is making great progress after separate elbow and oblique injuries shortened his 2023 season.

Ohtani won’t pitch this year, but he is going to serve as the designated hitter in the Dodgers lineup. To this point in the spring, he’s hit off a machine and took batting practice on the field, but manager Dave Roberts expects him to advance to facing live pitching soon.

“He’s been on the every other day, I think he’s in a hitting group today. So I think it’s just continue to go out there and get coaches BP, and that live BP is coming soon,” Roberts said.

“I think we’re trying to be mindful of the time that we have ahead of us. But just from my eyes, I think that he’s pretty dang close.”

Ohtani impressed during his first batting practice session on Monday as he hit 10 home runs over two rounds of swings. “Shohei looked great. It’s a different sound coming off the bat, and the barrel accuracy is really good,” Roberts said.

“But the power is pretty is really impressive. And just for me to see it up close and personal, how much bat speed he generates. It’s really impressive.”

Ohtani is still in the process of rehabbing and getting back on track after undergoing right elbow surgery near the end of last season, but Roberts added that the DH will play in a handful of Cactus League games this spring.

However, he isn’t sure when Ohtani will make his debut. “It’s going to be hard to keep him out of games,” Roberts began.

“I don’t know when he’s going to make his Cactus League debut with us, but I see that certainly happening.”

Ohtani recently reiterated that he expects to be in the Dodgers lineup when the regular season begins in South Korea. “I was planning on swinging on the lighter side but the swings were feeling really good, which is a really good sign,” he said. “I think it’s trending toward me being ready for Opening Day.”

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