Ohtani throwing from 60 feet, eyeing return to mound in '25

May 27th, 2024

NEW YORK -- Dodgers two-way superstar has, once again, been one of the most dominant hitters in the sport this season, and he’s doing all of it while rehabbing his right elbow after undergoing a second Tommy John surgery in 2023.

Before the Dodgers were rained out against the Mets on Monday, Ohtani met with the media to give a quick update on where things stand with his rehab process.

Ohtani has been throwing ever since the team came back from Seoul, South Korea, in late March. Since then, Ohtani said he has progressed to throwing from 60 feet out. He added that those throws have reached 80 mph in his last couple sessions.

“Usually anywhere from 60-70 [throws],” Ohtani said through translator Will Ireton, when asked where he was in his progression. “Just continuing to increase the distance and the pitches, and just seeing where that goes. I’m not quite sure how far I’m gonna go out there, but that’s the progression.”

Though he’s progressing well, Ohtani won’t be on the mound for the Dodgers this season, even in the event of a lengthy postseason run. The two-way star and the Dodgers have their eyes set on Ohtani returning to the mound in ‘25.

In the meantime, Ohtani leads the Dodgers in just about every offensive category. Even as a full-time designated hitter, Ohtani is among the favorites to win a third Most Valuable Player Award in the last four seasons. Ohtani's .336 batting average is among the top in the Majors, and reflects his best start at the plate since coming over from Japan in 2018.

Ohtani has also been more aggressive on the bases because his legs are freed up from worrying about pitching every sixth day. Ohtani’s career high in stolen bases is 26 in '21. He’s well on his way to eclipsing that mark, already swiping 13 bags this season.

The Dodgers and Ohtani had a conversation in Spring Training: Both sides wanted to maximize the opportunity to utilize his elite speed. Right now, Ohtani is battling a right hamstring bruise and running with a bit of caution through the use of a speed-controlling device -- but when he gets back to 100 percent, expect him to continue running.

“I was all in for him being aggressive and picking the right spots to get to second base or get to third base,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “I think that was kind of something that allowed him the freedom to then work on his jumps and his speed. … He’s doing some things on the bases. Keeps hitting homers and stealing bases. It’s shaping up to be a really special season for him.”

Even with all the success Ohtani has had as a full-time designated hitter, he fully expects to be a two-way player for the foreseeable future. He said it’s “hard to tell” if he’s having this level of success because he’s only focusing on hitting.

What he does know, however, is how much he enjoys pitching. And he’s getting closer to doing that as he continues to progress.

“I think any starting pitcher can tell you that there’s a little bit of nervousness going into a game you start,” Ohtani said. “In a sense, I do miss that kind of atmosphere. But right now I’m really just focusing on progressing every day, really focusing on that.”