What’s better than watching batting practice at spring training?
Watching Shohei Ohtani taking batting practice at spring training.
The buzz around baseball’s biggest star had died down a bit after Ohtani signed his massive 10-year, $700 million contract with the Dodgers in December. However, with spring training commencing ahead of the 2024 MLB season, the excitement in Los Angeles is starting to boil.
Ohtani was seen getting his first swings wearing the Dodger blue at spring training. It comes a couple of days after he gave an update to the media, stating that he was “swinging 100%” following elbow surgery to repair his UCL.
It marked his first on-field batting session since the operation, and it did not disappoint.
Shohei Ohtani batting practice: First swings in Dodgers’ uniform
Wow, Shohei. 😳 pic.twitter.com/ifYb2cHVzY
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) February 12, 2024
Shohei Ohtani is taking on-field batting practice today for the first time since his surgery last year pic.twitter.com/EVKohl7rjT
— Jack Harris (@ByJackHarris) February 12, 2024
Literally getting contents we’ve never had before a full Shohei Ohtani BP!
— shobae 大谷翔平 ¹⁷ Ohtani Shohei ¹⁷ 😎 chihuahua lover (@shoheisaveus) February 12, 2024
While Ohtani looks the part, there is still a ways to go before opening day in the MLB. The Dodgers open their season against the Padres in Seoul, South Korea, on March 20 — a week before any other MLB clubs begin the year.
Here’s what you need to know about Ohtani’s injury.
Shohei Ohtani injury update
It is going to be a bittersweet inaugural season in Los Angeles for Ohtani.
Baseball fans will not get to see the two-way sensation pitch at all in 2024. The elbow surgery he underwent requires a lengthy recovery time, keeping him off the mound until 2025.
With that said, swinging should not be an issue. The hope for Ohtani is that he’ll be debuting as a Dodger early in 2024 as a hitter, with the potential to be ready for opening day.
Ohtani is up to swinging a bat with 100-percent effort, though he still has yet to face live pitchers and high-velocity pitching machines, he told reporters on Friday.
This is not the first time that Ohtani is putting down the glove and focusing solely on offense. In 2019, he did not pitch at all during the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Ohtani has explained how he learned from that experience and is expected to have better preparation for balancing hitting in ’24 while working on rehabbing his arm for ’25.