Yamamoto set for first MLB action Wednesday vs. champs

February 28th, 2024

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A day after announcing that Shohei Ohtani will make his first Cactus League appearance in a Dodgers uniform on Tuesday, the Dodgers are also ready to show off their other prized offseason acquisition this week.

After throwing a bullpen session on Monday, the Dodgers have Japanese phenom scheduled to pitch two innings against the Rangers on Wednesday in Surprise, Ariz., and it will be streamed live on MLB.TV at 12:05 p.m. PT. It’ll be the first time Yamamoto gets into Cactus League action in his career.

“It’s great,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “The guys really came into camp excited, very focused. I think the guys that are new have done a great job of assimilating. The guys who have been here have done a great job of incorporating the new players, and now seeing them on the field and to play Dodger baseball, it’s been fun. We play every pitch, we play hard and that’s my expectation.”

Early in the offseason, the Dodgers identified Yamamoto as one of their top targets in free agency. The Dodgers had been scouting Yamamoto for years and the excitement around him had been growing for years.

This winter, the Dodgers were able to land Yamamoto on a 12-year, $325 million deal, making him the highest-paid pitcher in Major League history despite not throwing a pitch in the Majors. But Yamamoto’s success in Nippon Professional Baseball can’t be understated. Yamamoto is fresh off winning the pitching Triple Crown and won three consecutive Eiji Sawamura Awards, the equivalent of the Cy Young in MLB.

Over the past few weeks, the Dodgers have gotten a chance to learn more about Yamamoto, who has an interesting and unique way of training. Yamamoto has become famous for his javelin workout, among other things. His bullpen sessions have routinely drawn a big crowd at Dodgers camp.

During his first of two live BPs this spring, Yamamoto faced off against former MVPs Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman. Yamamoto was able to get the best of them, drawing a standing ovation from Betts at the end of the session.

On Wednesday, the attention will once again be on Yamamoto when he faces off against the defending World Series champions.