Shohei Ohtani won't play in Dodgers' spring training opener, stays away from live batting practice

Sun, Feb 18, 2024
MLB News (AP)

Shohei Ohtani won't play in Dodgers' spring training opener, stays away from live batting practice

Shohei Ohtani did not participate in live batting practice Sunday, and his Los Angeles Dodgers spring training debut is on hold.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Ohtani, who is coming back from elbow surgery, will not play in Thursday's opener against the San Diego Padres. The two-time MVP signed a record $700 million, 10-year contract as a free agent in December.

Roberts, though, has been encouraged by Ohtani's progress physically.

"He's a lot further along than I think any of us - maybe not named Shohei - would have expected," Roberts said on Saturday. "He's worked really hard, very diligent in his work, so he's ahead of schedule.

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"What that means as far as when he's going to play in a Cactus League game, I don't know that answer. But it just seems like every single day, he keeps better and feels real good."

The two-time AL MVP won't pitch this season following right elbow surgery on Sept. 19 but hopes to be ready as a hitter by the March 20 opener against the Padres in Seoul, South Korea. He hit .304 with 44 home runs last year with the Los Angeles Angels.

ACUNA'S ASCENT

Ronald Acuna Jr. has already done a lot with the Atlanta Braves, but manager Brian Snitker is expecting even more from the 26-year-old outfielder.

"He's going to set records that probably he's the only one who is going to be able to outdo them," Snitker said. "The scary part is, he's at an age where he's going to get better."

Acuna won his first NL MVP award last season after becoming the first player with 40 homers and 70 stolen bases in a major league season.

RELIVING HISTORY

In the Boston Red Sox spring training clubhouse in Fort Myers, Florida. during a rainy morning that shortened their workouts, the team's infamous matchup with the New York Mets on Game 6 of the 1986 World Series was playing on one of the TVs.

Hall of Famer Jim Rice, a member of that team, watched some of it along with a few pitchers, including newcomer Lucas Giolito.

Just before the winning run came home after a grounder went through first baseman Bill Buckner's legs, the satellite TV provider's signal went out. By the time the signal was restored, another program was airing on the MLB Network.

MAKING MOVES

The Baltimore Orioles acquired 29-year-old lefty Matt Krook for cash from the New York Yankees in a trade. Krook, who was designated for assignment on Tuesday, had a 24.75 ERA in four appearances last season, his first in the majors. In 27 games last year at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre, he was 1-1 with a 1.32 ERA.

Baltimore designated utility player Diego Castillo for assignment to clear a spot for Krook on its 40-man roster.

Shortly after Baltimore designated infielder Livan Soto for assignment on Friday, the Angels claimed him off waivers. Soto played 22 games for them the previous two seasons.

GETTING A CHANCE

Toronto agreed to a minor league contract with 31-year-old Daniel Vogelbach.

The 6-foot, 270-pound designated hitter was heading into his final year of arbitration eligibility when the Mets cut him in November. He struck out in more than one-fourth of his plate appearances last season, hitting .233 with 13 home runs and 48 RBIs in 104 games.

Vogelbach was an All-Star with the Seattle Mariners in 2019, when he finished with 30 homers and 76 RBIs that stand as career highs.

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AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum and AP freelance writer Ken Powtak contributed to this report.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB

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