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Shohei Ohtani makes clear statement about his future as a pitcher

Shohei Ohtani smiling

Dec 14, 2023; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers player Shohei Ohtani stands with his agent Nez Balelo (left) and interpreter Ippei Mizuhara at an introductory press conference at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Shohei Ohtani will not pitch for the Los Angeles Dodgers this year, and there have been some questions about whether the team will want him to pitch again at all. As valuable as Ohtani’s two-way status is, the Dodgers want him healthy and hitting, after all.

It is clear, however, that the Dodgers and Ohtani have no plans to hold him back from pitching. Ohtani made that obvious on Monday, as he discussed his escalating rehab efforts following his Tommy John surgery.

“Just progressively increasing the distance,” Ohtani said through an interpreter Monday, via Jorge Castillo of ESPN. “Usually anywhere from 60-70 pitches, in that distance. Just continuing to increase the distance and the pitches, and just seeing where that goes. I’m not quite sure how far I’m going to go out there, but that’s the progression.”

Ohtani added that last week, he was throwing 80 mph from 60 feet away, suggesting his rehab process is going smoothly.

The surgery and rehab has done nothing to detract from Ohtani’s offense. He is hitting .336 with 13 home runs so far on the season and is pacing the Dodger offense. Ohtani’s agent was very clear during free agency that the two-way star intends to pitch again once he is healthy, and it is hard to believe the Dodgers would have paid him the way they did if they were not on board with that.


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