Shohei Ohtani ‘Very Confident’ Of Being In Dodgers Lineup For Seoul Series

Shohei Ohtani won’t be able to pitch during the 2024 season due to the recovery from right elbow surgery, but he doesn’t anticipate being limited in any other regard come the Seoul Series.

“I’m very confident, because we’re right on schedule,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara when asked about being in the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup when the open the regular season in South Korea.

“We’re not ahead, we’re not behind. We’re right on schedule. So as long as there’s no setbacks going forward, I should be ready.”

Ohtani had previously expressed a similar sentiment when discussing the recovery from last year’s elbow surgery during his introductory press conference at Dodger Stadium.

“Rehab has been going really well,” Ohtani reiterated at DodgerFest. “As long as I’m ready by March 20, I think I’ll be playing.”

While Ohtani is taking swings in preparation of being in the Dodgers lineup as their everyday designated hitter, thus far that work has been limited to “hitting flips.”

“Once we get to Arizona, I think I’ll start facing the machine,” he added.

Since signing a record-setting $700 million contract with the Dodgers last December, the two-way star has been a fixture at Dodger Stadium for offseason workouts. He’s met most, but not the entire Dodgers training staff during that time.

“They’ve been really great so far and great communication. I’m looking forward to working with them,” Ohtani said.

Shohei Ohtani will balance pitching, hitting

For as much as the 2024 season is going to comprise of Ohtani being the Dodgers’ DH — and possibly playing some outfield late in the year — an eventual return to the mound is going to be kept in mind as well.

“I’m going to start my throwing program once we get to Arizona and kind of go from there. We haven’t really scheduled anything too far ahead, like live BPs or anything,” Ohtani said. So we’re going to play it by ear through camp.

“The main focus is going to be on hitting throughout the year and kind of ease into a pitching program throughout the year.”

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