Shohei Ohtani, player for the Los Angeles Dodgers, expressed his confidence in being the designated hitter for the team when they open the 2024 season in Seoul, South Korea against the San Diego Padres on March 20th. Ohtani made these remarks during the Dodgers Fest event held on Saturday.
It is important to note that Ohtani suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow at the end of August and underwent Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career. As a result, he will not be able to pitch during the entire 2024 season, which marks the beginning of his historic 10-year, $700 million contract with the California team.
“We are right on time,” said Ohtani through his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara. “We are neither ahead nor behind. We are right on time. As long as there are no setbacks in the future, I will be ready.”
Ohtani’s rehabilitation will intensify once the spring training begins next week. However, it is worth mentioning that the Japanese player has been training since he signed with the Dodgers in mid-December. During this time, he has been hitting off a tee with a pitching machine.
Having said that, Ohtani and the team will analyze the next steps of his rehabilitation once he reports for spring training. “I will start my throwing program when I arrive in Arizona and will continue from there,” he stated.
“We haven’t really scheduled anything like live batting practice or anything like that. So, we will play it by ear throughout camp. The main focus will obviously be hitting throughout the year, and we will try to incorporate pitching into the program throughout the year,” Ohtani concluded.