Shohei Ohtani Feb 15, 2024; Glendale, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) stands in as a batter during pitcher drills during a Spring Training workout at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Even when he’s recovering from major surgery, Shohei Ohtani still has the power to amaze on the baseball diamond.

Ohtani has been the talk of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ spring training so far, not just for the record-setting $700 million deal he signed in December, but for his recovery from elbow surgery. The slugger underwent surgery to repair a torn UCL in September.

While he will not pitch again in MLB until 2025, Ohtani is expected to be a huge presence at the plate for LA this year. And so far, he has been crushing the ball in batting practice.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters Friday he’s been surprised by Ohtani’s progress.

“He’s a lot further along than any of us not named Shohei would have expected,” Roberts said (via “He’s worked really hard and is very diligent in his work. What that means as far as when he’s gonna play in a Cactus League game, I don’t know that answer. But it seems like every single day, he keeps getting better and feels really good.”

The next step is expected to come next week, when Ohtani is set to face live pitching. The team hopes Ohtani will be ready to play by the season opener on March 20.

So far, Roberts couldn’t be more pleased. reports Ohtani hit home runs on 13 of 26 swings he took in BP Friday.

“I’m gonna start talking to him on what he likes, as far as his expectation to get ready for a Major League season,” Roberts said. “Obviously, game at-bats are important. But if we can get at-bats on a backfield, we can do that, too. Certainly everyone wants to see him on a baseball field and playing. I get that. But the main thing is to get him ready for Opening Day. And I think we’ve got plenty of time to do that.”

Even coming off the surgery, most fans expect big things from Ohtani this season. The two-time American League MVP, who led the AL with 44 home runs last season, is among the favorites to win the MLB HR crown this year.


About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.