Shohei Ohtani to make spring debut for Dodgers on Tuesday

Shohei Ohtani will make his Los Angeles Dodgers’ spring-training debut on Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox, who share the facility at Camelback Ranch at Glendale, Ariz.

Ohtani will be the designated hitter as he plays in a game for the first time since signing a 10-year, $700 million deal in the offseason.

It will also mark Ohtani’s first game action since undergoing his second career Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in September. Ohtani will not pitch during the 2024 season.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts observed Ohtani closely on Sunday as the latter faced live pitching from right-hander Jesse Hahn.

“He took three at-bats, and he looked good,” Roberts told reporters. “I thought today was a good day for Shohei.”

Ohtani won two unanimous American League MVP awards during six seasons (2018-2023) with the Los Angeles Angels.

His jump to the Dodgers has led to many fans flocking to the club’s spring-training complex.

Los Angeles is proceeding cautiously with Ohtani, who recently said he feels he will be ready when the Dodgers open the season against San Diego Padres on March 20-21 in Seoul, South Korea.

Roberts said the organization isn’t feeling pressure to have the Japanese-born Ohtani ready to play in the Seoul Series.

“I do think that having him play certainly adds to the attention of the series, of the games,” Roberts said. “But most importantly is his health. So if it lines up, great. And if it doesn’t, then we’ll still move on from there.”

Ohtani, 29, won his second AL MVP award this past season when he batted .304 with an AL-leading 44 homers with 95 RBIs in 135 games with the Los Angeles Angels. He led the AL with a .412 on-base percentage and led the majors with a .654 slugging percentage.

As a pitcher, Ohtani went 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA and recorded 167 strikeouts over 132 innings (23 starts). He limited opposing batters to a .184 average.

Ohtani’s pitching efforts ended after he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on Aug. 23. The three-time All-Star continued playing as a batter until sustaining an oblique injury on Sept. 3.

Despite smacking 171 homers and going 38-19 with a 3.01 ERA as a pitcher, Ohtani didn’t play in a single playoff game during his six seasons in Anaheim.