Signing the largest contract within the historical past of North American skilled sports activities provides just a little extra consideration to virtually any notable occasion, phases or not. Shohei Ohtani taking stay batting apply Monday at Camelback Ranch was necessary for a couple of causes. Not solely as a result of it was his first session with the Dodgers, but in addition his first since elbow surgical procedure.
Sporting a brace over his proper elbow, Ohtani on Monday took the subsequent step in his rehabilitation from the September surgical procedure that may stop him from pitching in 2024.
Each throughout his introductory press convention at Dodger Stadium on Dec. 14, and at DodgerFest on Feb. 3, Ohtani mentioned he was progressing nicely from his surgical procedure and would work for weeks at Dodger Stadium. He mentioned he was hitting a tee shot whereas in Los Angeles, and plans to start out hitting the batting cages as soon as he will get to Arizona. Monday marked the subsequent step in that progress.
All in all, Ohtani maintained that he plans to be able to play on Opening Day on March 20, when the Dodgers open their common season first with two video games towards the Padres in Seoul, South Korea.
“If I'm very assured that I'm proper on schedule — not forward or not on time,” Ohtani mentioned on Feb. 3. “So long as there are not any clashes forward, I ought to be prepared.”
Ohtani expressed an analogous outlook Friday, telling reporters at Camelback Ranch that his swing felt near one hundred pc.
“I'm in a brand new group, so I’ve to do it like a rookie.” Shohei Ohtani discusses attending to know his teammates and the development in his swing. pic.twitter.com/y53cemFUJO
– SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) February 10, 2024
Understandably, Ohtani's batting apply session on Monday drew a crowd, and never simply from the followers gathered on the Camelback Ranch backfields.
From Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic:
Each rounds of batting apply have been nicely attended, from the entrance workplace employees to hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc to the handfuls of members of the media who tried to seize images and video of the Pirates by a fence of thread Ohtani recorded 21 swings, with 10 of them connecting on balls that cleared the outfield partitions.
A cellphone positioned on the bottom recorded every swing, whereas an iPad linked to the membership's inside knowledge programs displayed the exit velocity of every batted ball. Ohtani hit as much as 109 mph together with his exit velocity throughout the session, with lots of these batted balls registering within the triple digits.
Within the franchise's 140-year historical past, the Dodgers have solely had 14 particular person seasons and eight gamers have hit 40 house runs. Ohtani over the previous three seasons has averaged 41 house runs whereas hitting .277/.379/.585 with a 157 wRC+. His 44 house runs in 2023, which led the American League regardless of lacking the final 4 weeks of the season, was reached solely 3 times within the historical past of the Dodgers.
After BP's work on Monday, Ohtani once more mentioned he was assured he was on observe to be prepared for opening day, which is now 39 days away. From Invoice Plunkett of the Orange County Register:
Ohtani by his interpreter: “I had deliberate … to swing on the lighter aspect. However I felt just like the swings felt actually good, which is a extremely good signal. I believe it's trending in the direction of me for be prepared for opening day.”
– Invoice Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) February 12, 2024