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Shohei Ohtani Has a Solid Home-Opening Series Against Cardinals

Despite ongoing probes of the gambling scandal that led to interpreter Ippei Mizuhara's firing, Shohei Ohtani appears to be maintaining his focus on baseball.



Shohei Ohtani
Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani smacks a double against the St Louis Cardinals in the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium on March 31, 2024. (Gary A Vasquez/USA TODAY SPORTS)

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As the 2024 Major League Baseball season gets underway, Shohei Ohtani is keeping his focus on his job in spite of the ongoing gambling scandal involving his longtime former interpreter. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers fired Ippei Mizuhara during the team's 2024 MLB season-opening Seoul Series on March 20 after allegations of "massive theft" from the two-time American League MVP's bank account. 

Mizuhara was alleged to have wired $4.5 million USD (around ¥680 million JPY) to pay an illegal bookie for gambling debts.

On the same day, the Dodgers opened their season with a 5-2 win over the San Diego Padres in the South Korean capital, followed by a 15-12 defeat the next day.

Ohtani addressed the shocking revelations of the Mizuhara scandal for the first time at Dodger Stadium on March 25 before a large throng of reporters. Reading a prepared statement, he said that he's never gambled on sports. He also said he never authorized Mizuhara to wire money from his bank account to pay his gambling debts. MLB is conducting its own investigation, while the International Revenue Service and the US Department of Homeland Security are also conducting probes.

Three days later, the Dodgers opened a four-game series against the visiting St Louis Cardinals. Ohtani went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk in the series opener, a 7-1 win for Los Angeles.

Shohei Ohtani
Shohei Ohtani stands at home plate against the St Louis Cardinals during the first inning at Dodger Stadium on March 29. (Jonathan Hui/USA TODAY SPORTS)

Shohei Ohtani Aspires to Hit Home Runs

Teammates Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman homered in the rout, and the ultra-competitive Ohtani wanted to match their power-hitting exploits in the home opener.

"I was the only guy who couldn't hit a homer, but overall I felt like I had a pretty good game today," Ohtani was quoted as saying through his new interpreter, Will Ireton, by The Associated Press.

On March 29, Ohtani was hitless in four at-bats. The Dodgers won again, 6-3.

He singled and walked in five at-bats in a 6-5, 10-inning defeat on March 30. In this game, Dodgers right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto made his second start of the season and bounced back in a big way from his nightmarish first MLB start on March 21 (five runs allowed and four hits in one inning).

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.



Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven

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