Shohei makes his Dodgers spring debut today. Here's everything to know

February 27th, 2024

The wait is finally over. Shohei Ohtani will be back on a baseball field for a live game on Tuesday.

Ohtani, who signed a record 10-year, $700 million deal this winter, will be making his Cactus League debut with the Dodgers in one of the most anticipated Spring Training games in recent memory.

Here’s everything you need to know leading up to Ohtani’s first action of the spring:

When/where is the game?

Ohtani’s Spring Training debut with the Dodgers is scheduled for Tuesday against the White Sox. The game will be at Camelback Ranch with first pitch slated for 3:05 p.m. ET/1:05 MT/12:05 PT.

Who will he face?

The White Sox are expected to start left-hander Garrett Crochet against Ohtani and the Dodgers. Crochet made 13 relief appearances with Chicago last season, posting a 3.55 ERA while striking out 12 over 12 2/3 innings.

How can I watch?

The game will be televised on SportsNet LA and can also be watched on MLB.TV and MLB Network.

Where will Ohtani hit in the lineup?

With Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts also in the fold, manager Dave Roberts hasn't announced where Ohtani will hit in the batting order this season, but if Tuesday's lineup is any indication, the two-time American League Most Valuable Player will be sandwiched in between Betts and Freeman in the two-hole.

How many at-bats is he likely to get?

Roberts said Ohtani will ultimately decide how many at-bats he will take, but the skipper added that his expectation is for the designated hitter to get two or three plate appearances.

How is his recovery from surgery going?

Ohtani underwent a second major right elbow surgery in September and won’t pitch in ‘24. However, the new Dodger says he’s “right on schedule” when it comes to his recovery as a hitter and is “very confident” he’ll play when the Dodgers travel to Seoul, South Korea, to open the season against the Padres on March 20-21.

Throughout Spring Training, Ohtani has taken live batting practice three times and has taken BP on the field a few times as well. Getting into a real game is another step in the right direction.

Are there any other limitations?

Other than the fact that he won’t be able to pitch, Ohtani should be a full-go assuming his recovery continues to go well. Ohtani could also see more action on the basepaths, given he won’t pitch this season.

Is Ohtani expected to be ready for Opening Day?

Game action will be a significant test for Ohtani, who is on track to be ready for the series in Seoul.

What are some highlights from his first few weeks in Dodgers camp?

In his first on-field batting practice since the surgery, Ohtani took 21 swings and hit 10 homers. A few days later, he took 26 swings and hit 10 more bombs. In his first live BP action of the spring, Ohtani also took right-hander J.P. Feyereisen deep on a fastball that sat in the middle of the plate.

When will he be cleared to pitch?

Given Ohtani had the surgery in September, he won’t be cleared to pitch until at least this offseason. Ohtani has said he expects to be back on the mound in time for the ‘25 season.

What are they saying?

“It's exciting,” said Roberts. “Sho is excited to get out there and play some baseball. So you know, the plan is to get him two, three at-bats. You know, whatever he feels is good enough for that day. But yeah, I think that for all of us as coaches, players, and certainly the fans are excited to see Sho don that Dodger uniform.”