Ohtani's first live BP homer with Dodgers a no-doubt crowd pleaser

February 19th, 2024

GLENDALE – Everything does or doesn’t do will continue being among the most important things in Dodgers camp this spring. That’s just reality, given the attention around Ohtani as he enters his first season with the Dodgers, coming off a second major right elbow surgery.

Over the weekend, Ohtani was listed on the schedule to take part in live batting practice. Ohtani, however, opted to hit regular batting practice on Friday and nothing on the field on Sunday.

On Monday, however, it was showtime – and Ohtani delivered.

Ohtani took the field ready for live batting practice, his first of those sessions since undergoing surgery last September. In his first at-bat, Ohtani took five pitches from right-hander but didn’t swing.

Next time up, Ohtani stepped in against , who has been one of the most impressive relievers early in camp. Ohtani swung at the first pitch he saw from Treinen, fouling it off his foot. He yelled, momentarily shooting panic throughout the entire camp. But the two-time American League Most Valuable Player wasn’t injured, and he finished the at-bat.

Treinen ended up getting the best of Ohtani, punching him out on the fifth pitch of the at-bat.

In his third at-bat, it was Ohtani’s turn to even the score against another Dodgers reliever. Ohtani took a couple of pitches against , drawing the count to 3-1. Feyereisen then delivered a strike to push the count full.

The sixth pitch became the talk of the complex. Feyereisen threw a four-seamer down the middle of the plate to Ohtani, who cleared his hips and put the barrel on the ball, clearing the wall. The sound was loud, immediately getting an “Oh!” reaction from the crowd in attendance.

“Today was fun,” Feyereisen said. “It was good seeing him back in the box and healthy and swinging the bat, and obviously hitting homers off me. So it’s good.”

After the session, Ohtani didn’t talk about BP or where he currently stands in his rehab. But given that he’s already taking part in live BPs, the chances of him being ready for the Dodgers’ season-opening two-game Seoul Series in South Korea against the Padres on March 20 and 21 remain very high.

“I haven’t had the conversation as far as the expectations,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “I think it’s more of each day, preparing himself, as we start playing games, at some point in time, he’ll get into games. And just to get better each day.”

The expectation is for Ohtani to take part in a couple more live BPs throughout the week. It’s unlikely that he’ll play in the Dodgers’ first couple Cactus League games. That, of course, will depend on how he continues to feel.

“I think as you can see, I’ve kind of given him the latitude that [he can play] when he feels like he can participate,” Roberts said. “I’m confident he knows what it takes to get himself ready.”

All the attention around Ohtani this spring has been unlike anything Dodgers players have seen before. There are a lot more cameras around, and the crowds of fans in attendance have grown by the day. When reporters approached Feyereisen to ask him about the Ohtani homer, the right-hander couldn’t help but laugh.

“You look at him in the box, and it’s like everybody is like, ‘Oh, [be] dead quiet, Shohei is hitting, let’s go watch him,’” Feyereisen laughed. “It’s cool seeing the following of his, and obviously to see him play is awesome.”