Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani 'feeling good,' eyes 50 preseason at-bats

ByAlden Gonzalez ESPN logo
Thursday, February 22, 2024

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Shohei Ohtani took live batting practice for the second time Wednesday and saw just six pitches, taking one swing that produced a hard grounder to the right side against Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Ryan Yarbrough.

It counted as progress.

Ohtani, according to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, wants to take 50 spring training at-bats to feel ready for the regular season. The five at-bats he has taken through two live-BP sessions essentially count, he said, as do indoor sessions off a Dodgers pitching machine that can mimic pitch characteristics. The most important thing, Ohtani said through his interpreter, is that his body is "feeling good" and "reacting the right way" when he swings.

Said Ohtani: "I feel like I have more than enough time to get 50 at-bats."

Ohtani, 29, isn't expected to play in any of the Dodgers' Cactus League games this week but could play shortly thereafter. He said he's "right on schedule" in his desire to be ready by the time the Dodgers open their season with a two-game series against the division-rival San Diego Padres in South Korea beginning March 20.

"I feel good at the plate, seeing the ball well," said Ohtani, who will also spend the 2024 season rehabbing from elbow surgery as a pitcher. "Elbow-wise, there's nothing new."

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