Shohei Ohtani isn’t wasting any time with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Ohtani took part in batting practice with his new team on Monday in Glendale, Arizona, and immediately shined just a few months after undergoing surgery to repair a UCL tear in his right elbow. Ohtani reportedly hit 10 home runs on just 21 swings in BP amid a pretty remarkable scene.
“I was planning … to swing on the lighter side,” Ohtani told reporters Monday through an interpreter, via ESPN. “But I felt like the swings were feeling really good, which is a really good sign. I think it’s trending toward me being ready for Opening Day.”
Ohtani signed a record 10-year, $700 million deal with the Dodgers in December after he spent his first six seasons in Major League Baseball with the Los Angeles Angels. The two-time MVP underwent surgery to repair a torn UCL in his pitching elbow in September. He is not expected to pitch again until the 2025 season, but he plans to play as the Dodgers’ designated hitter this season.
The 29-year-old is attempting to be ready for the Dodgers’ season opener against the San Diego Padres on March 20 in South Korea. After two games in Seoul, the Dodgers will resume their schedule March 28 in the United States.
Othani said earlier this month that he felt like he was “already swinging close to 100 percent,” which his performance Monday appeared to back up. The Dodgers plan to have him bat third in their lineup behind Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman.
Ohtani hit .274 in his career with the Angels, and he had a league-best 1.066 OPS last season. He has 171 home runs and 437 RBI in his career. He had 44 home runs and 95 RBI last season, both of which were just shy of his career highs, and he earned his third straight All-Star nod.
While there is still plenty of time between now and Opening Day, Ohtani appears to at least be on pace to be available for the Dodgers come March 20.