Shohei Ohtani: Sho-Time Starts Tuesday, Yoshinobu Yamamoto Takes the Hill Wednesday

AP Photo/Ashley Landis
This is a 2024 photo of designated hitter Shohei Ohtani, left, and starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team.

Shohei Ohtani will make his exhibition debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers when he serves as the designated hitter for Los Angeles on Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox.

Los Angeles has been taking it slowly with the two-way star, who signed a record $700 million, 10-year contract during the offseason. The two-time MVP is coming off right elbow surgery last September that will keep him from pitching this year.

Ohtani did take live batting practice on Sunday, with Dodgers manager Dave Roberts saying the sport’s biggest star looked “good.”

The 29-year-old Ohtani is further along in his recovery than Los Angeles anticipated, and the team hopes he will be available when the Dodgers and the San Diego Padres open the regular season by playing a two-game series in Seoul, South Korea, on March 20 and 21.

“Most importantly is his health,” Roberts told reporters. “So if it lines up, great. And if it doesn’t, then we’ll still move on from there.”

The Dodgers also announced that right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto is scheduled to make his first Cactus League appearance on Wednesday against Texas.

Los Angeles gave the 25-year-old Yamamoto a $325-million, 12-year deal in December after bringing him over from Japan, where he won three straight Most Valuable Player awards in the Nippon Pacific League.

Yamamoto will wear a custom-made glove featuring the Japanese flag on the outside of the webbing.


The Dodgers and former World Series star Kiké Hernández agreed to a $4 million, one-year contract.

When Los Angeles agreed to trade outfielder Manuel Margot to Minnesota, it opened up a spot on their bench for Hernández, a free agent after finishing the 2023 season with the Dodgers.

The 32-year-old utility player has spent the vast majority of his career with Los Angeles, first from 2015-20 and then again during the second half of last season after Boston traded him back to the Dodgers.

Hernández hit .237 with 11 home runs and 61 RBIs in 140 games with the Red Sox and Los Angeles in 2023.