Shohei Ohtani injury update: Dodgers star says he’s swinging at 100 percent, still yet to face live pitching

The Dodgers reported for spring training on Friday, and unsurprisingly, the man of the hour was Shohei Ohtani.

Baseball’s biggest star drew a crowd the size of the throngs of reporters gathered around players at the Super Bowl in Las Vegas as he provided updates for the first time since he signed in a massive 10-year, $700 million contract in December.

“I’m on a brand new team so I’m going to act like I’m a rookie and try to get along with all the guys, and get along with my teammates,” Ohtani said to reporters.

Coming off offseason elbow surgery, Ohtani provided his first updates into how his recovery has been going, particularly given that the Dodgers open their season against the Padres in Seoul, South Korea, on March 20, a week before any other MLB teams being the year.

MORE: Clayton Kershaw to return to Dodgers on one-year deal

Here’s what you need to know.

Shohei Ohtani injury update

Baseball fans will not get to see Ohtani pitch in 2024. But the hope is that he’ll be returning as a hitter early in the campaign, if not by Opening Day.

Ohtani is up to swinging a bat with 100 percent effort, though he still has yet to face live pitchers and high-velocity pitching machines, he told reporters on Friday.

He’s had a season like this before. In 2019, he did not pitch at all as he worked his way back from Tommy John surgery. Ohtani hit 18 home runs and swiped 12 bases while slashing .286/.343/.505 in 106 games. That experience, he explained, will make him better balance his preparation for hitting during the season with the efforts he’ll need to undergo to rehab his arm for pitching in 2025.

Shohei Ohtani partnerships

Ohtani is a brand ambassador for Hugo Boss, New Balance and Porsche, and he’s put in the work over his first two days in Glendale, Ariz., to represent.

He arrived on Friday wearing a Boss shirt with a New Balance beanie. And on both days, he drove up in different Porsches.

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