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Shohei Ohtani optimistic about recovery after crushing HR at BP

Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani took on-field batting practice for the first time with his new team Monday in Glendale, Ariz., and put on another one of his patented shows.

According to multiple reports, Ohtani threw 21 pitches and hit 10 over the fence in his first outside hitting job of spring training.

The batting practice session was Ohtani, 29,’s first on a field since he underwent surgery Sept. 19 to repair a torn UCL in his right elbow.

The two-time MVP is operating in a tight recovery window to be able to play in the Dodgers’ season opener in South Korea on March 20 against the San Diego Padres. The Dodgers and Padres will play two games in Seoul, then return to resume their regular season schedule in the United States on March 28.

The Dodgers released a video of Ohtani’s BP, the results of which make him optimistic about his ability to play on March 20.

“I had planned … to go to the lighter side,” Ohtani told reporters Monday through an interpreter. “But I felt like the swings were really good, which is a really good sign. I think I’m trending toward being ready for Opening Day.”

Although Ohtani was unable to pitch this season, the Dodgers signed him to a 10-year free agent contract for a record $700 million, with $680 million carried over to be paid in installments. payments from 2034 to 2043.

The last time Ohtani took batting practice on the field was in September with the Los Angeles Angels. Reduced to just a hitter by then, the two-way star ultimately cut his season short by a month to undergo surgery.

In six seasons with the Angels, Ohtani won the American League Rookie of the Year in 2018 and earned AL MVP honors in 2021 and 2023. Those awards came amid two injuries to the elbow that required surgery.

A career .274 hitter with the Angels, Ohtahi also posted a .922 OPS, including an MLB-best 1.066 last season. He has 171 home runs and 437 RBIs in his major league career, including 44 homers and 95 RBIs in 2023.

As a pitcher, Ohtani is 38-19 in 86 career starts for the Angels, with a 3.01 ERA. He went 15-9 with a 2.33 ERA in 28 starts in 2022 and followed that up with a 10-5 record with a 3.14 ERA in 23 starts last season.

Ohtani is expected to return to being a two-way player for the Dodgers in 2025.

Field Level Media contributed to this story.

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