Dodgers Open to Possibility of Shohei Ohtani Playing in the Field This Season

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani in 2018
Shohei Ohtani with the Los Angeles Angels in 2018. Photo by Peter Joneleit/CSM/REX/Shutterstock (9635290f)

The Los Angeles Dodgers might use Shohei Ohtani, their prized offseason acquisition, in more ways than one during the 2024 MLB season. According to the Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, there is a possibility that Ohtani plays in the field on top of his designated hitter duties.

Ohtani underwent an elbow procedure in September. While the details of the procedure are kept under wraps, it is clear that he won’t be returning to the mound until 2025 at the earliest.

The initial plan was for Ohtani to serve as a designated hitter this upcoming season before returning to his two-way role next year. But according to Roberts, if Ohtani’s throwing program progresses well, he might see some action in the field.

“Shohei this year is primarily going to be the designated hitter,” Roberts told reporters on Monday. “Once we get back to the States, he is going to start his throwing program, which he hasn’t started yet. We’ll see how that progression goes. If his arm is healthy enough, we’ll have that conversation in the field. I do know he’s not going to pitch this year.”

Ohtani signed a 10-year, $700 million deal, the record in professional sports, with the Dodgers in December. He previously spent six seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, where he won two unanimous AL MVP awards.