Ohtani set for Cactus League debut on Tuesday

February 26th, 2024

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The wait is finally over. gave the green light to announce when he will see his first Cactus League action with the Dodgers.

Ohtani will start as the designated hitter on Tuesday at 3:05 p.m. ET/12:05 p.m. PT against the White Sox at Camelback Ranch. It will be the first time Ohtani wears a Dodgers uniform in a game since signing a record $700 million deal with the club this offseason. It’s also the first game action for Ohtani since undergoing a second significant right elbow surgery in September.

The wait won't be very long to see the debut of the team's other big free-agent pickup, as decorated hurler Yoshinobu Yamamoto is set to make his Dodgers debut on Wednesday in a road game against the defending World Series champion Rangers at 3:05 p.m. ET/12:05 p.m. PT. Both Tuesday's game and Wednesday's game will stream live on MLB.TV.

As he continued his progression this spring, Ohtani took part in batting practice on the field a few times before moving on to facing live pitching. Ohtani went through another round of live batting practice on Sunday, taking a couple of swings against right-hander Jesse Hahn.

“He took three at-bats, and he looked good,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “I thought today was a good day for Shohei.”

This spring has been one of change for Ohtani, who spent six seasons with the Angels after coming over from Japan. The crowds at Camelback Ranch have almost tripled from those of years past, with many in attendance coming to watch Ohtani with his new team.

Through that process, Ohtani has been rehabbing and making sure he is ready to play when the Dodgers travel to South Korea for the two-game Seoul Series against the Padres from March 20-21. Earlier this month, Ohtani said he was “very confident” that he would be ready for those two games.

Everything has since trended in the right direction for Ohtani, and getting into game action will represent another significant step toward the two-time American League Most Valuable Player suiting up right from the start of the season.

“I do think that having him play certainly adds to the attention of the series, of the games,” Roberts said when asked if the team feels pressure to have Ohtani on the field in the Seoul Series. “But most importantly is his health. So if it lines up, great. And if it doesn’t, then we’ll still move on from there.”