Shohei Ohtani officially introduced as member of the Dodgers

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Thursday, December 14, 2023
Shohei Ohtani officially introduced as member of the Dodgers
The Dodgers introduced Shohei Ohtani after the two-way superstar joined the team on a record 10-year, $700 million deal.

ELYSIAN PARK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers introduced Shohei Ohtani at Dodger Stadium Thursday afternoon after the two-way superstar joined the team on a record 10-year, $700 million deal.

"I can't wait to join the Dodgers," Ohtani said through his interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. "They share the same passion as me. They have a vision and history all about winning, and I share the same values, so I can't wait to join the team."

It was Ohtani's first time speaking with the media since Aug. 9, two weeks before a pitching injury that required surgery with Dodgers head team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Sept. 19 and will keep him off the mound until 2025. Ohtani had Tommy John surgery with ElAttrache on Oct. 1, 2018.

WATCH: Shohei Ohtani dons Dodger blue for first time

Shohei Ohtani puts on a Dodgers home jersey with No. 17 for the first time in public.

When asked whether he had a second Tommy John surgery, Ohtani dodged the question.

"I'm not obviously an expert in the medical field, but it was a procedure," Ohtani said. "I'm not sure what it's called, I know it was completely different from my first time, so I don't know what you want to call it. You could probably talk to my doctor about that."

He wore a navy business suit with a white shirt and blue tie, took off the jacket and put on a Dodgers home jersey with No. 17 and then the blue cap with the interlocking L&A. He took off the cap before speaking.

"One thing that really stands out in my head," he said, "when I had the meeting with the Dodgers, the ownership group, they said when they looked back at the last 10 years, even though they made the playoffs every single year, won one World Series ring, they considered that a failure. And when I heard that, I knew they were all about winning, and that's exactly how I feel."

Ohtani said he made his final decision to join the Dodgers on Friday, the day before he made the announcement on Instagram.

Ohtani described his choice as a "tough decision."

"At the end of the day I had to choose one team, and the Dodgers were my choice," he said.

"I do prioritize winning," he added. "That's on the top of my list, and that will probably never change, and that was one of the reasons why I chose this team."

The 29-year-old two-way superstar was joined by Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and controlling owner Mark Walter.

Dodger fans excited for arrival of Shohei Ohtani

Dodger fans are brimming with excitement over the signing of superstar Shohei Ohtani.

Friedman called Ohtani "the most dynamic player in the game," saying he has "an unwavering desire to be great."

Ohtani also revealed the name of his dog, seen on his lap when he appeared on the MLB Network for the announcement of his second MVP award on Nov. 16. The dog has the American name "Decoy" and a Japanese name, "Dekopin" or "Decopin" depending on the transliteration.

The two-time American League Most Valuable Player revealed his much-anticipated free agent move on social media Saturday, and the Dodgers made it official two days later.

Ohtani also thanked the Angels, the team he played for the first six years of his MLB career.

"It was a fun ride, great ride for the last six years. I would like to thank everyone in the organization. I'll never forget all the memories I have," he said.

Ohtani's 10-year deal is for $700 million -- the richest contract in U.S. sports history.

Ohtani's unusual contract calls for annual salaries of $70 million and of each year's salary, $68 million is deferred with no interest, payable in equal installments each July 1 from 2034-43. He also can opt out of the deal if either Walter or Friedman no longer is with the team, a person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the terms were not announced.

The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.