Shohei Ohtani’s Impressive Return Sets Sights on Triple Three & World Championship | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Shohei Ohtani’s Impressive Return Sets Sights on Triple Three & World Championship

Full-fledged start at the beginning of camp! He started with the rehabilitation team, but his training intensity is already at 100%.

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Although he was doing well, there were times when he held his right elbow, as if he was still concerned about the affected area. It will take some time for him to resume pitching.

After a 161-day layoff, the monster has finally awakened.

On February 12, the fourth day of camp, Shohei Ohtani of the Dodgers (29) took his first outdoor free practice since September 4 of last year.

A black supporter and elbow guard were wrapped around his right elbow, which had undergone surgery, as if to protect it. Although he said, ‘The strength of my elbow is close to 100%,’ I have a bitter memory of breaking my side in the last hitting practice last year. Everyone thought he would slowly get used to the game in the first inning and gradually increase his swing speed ……, but when he opened the door, 10 of his 21 swings went over the fence, and one of them was an impact shot that flew about 140 meters. It was a spectacular performance.

(Local reporter) It seemed as if he was ready to start taking full swings, but after practice, he said, “The last few swings (out of 100) I was swinging with a little more or less force, about 90. Whether or not he will play in the first open game on February 23 has yet to be decided, but he is a strong candidate to play in the season opener on March 20. He is making surprisingly good progress, saying, “I feel better than I thought I would.

Ohtani has stated that he will concentrate on being a hitter this season. He is expected to improve his hitting even more than last year. Hideki Kuriyama, 62, Otani’s former coach and manager of the Samurai Japan team, predicted that Otani would hit 74 homers this season, surpassing Barry Bonds’ (59) world record. Commentator Keiichi Yabu, who has experience in the majors, said, “It’s not easy to surpass Bonds’ record.

He is a very good hitter, but as far as I can tell from watching him practice, he is a right-hander. If he plays in 150 games as a DH and hits 650 at-bats, we can expect him to hit at least 50 homers. Unlike the Angels, who had a weak batting lineup, the Dodgers have a lineup of strong hitters, including Mookie Betts (31), the MVP of the A-League in 2006, so there will be fewer disappointing situations in which they are shunned in the game and they will score more runs than last year.

Expectations are also rising for a title other than the home run crown he won last year.

Otani has mastered the vertical swing, which has a longer impact zone than a normal swing, and can hit the ball in a wider range of angles. He can aim for the top spot and the possibility of winning the Triple Crown is in his sights. He will also have more opportunities to steal bases than last year because he does not have to conserve his stamina in preparation for starting pitching. With a career-high 30 stolen bases, a triple-three is well within his grasp. I hope he will be careful not to get injured while running the bases, though. ……

The Dodgers, with a pitching staff that includes new starter Yoshinobu Yamamoto (25) and Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Clayton Kershaw (35), are the leading contenders to win the World Series. A Triple Crown winner, a Triple-Three winner, and the world’s number one team. This year, the two-sword baseball player who changed the conventional wisdom of the baseball world will refine his game and create a new legend.

His 10 over-the-fence hits in 21 swings are proof that he is in good form. He was able to hit the ball so well that you would never feel he had been out of the game for a long time. The day when he can show off his hitting in front of his fans is near.

From the March 1-8, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

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