Dodgers pitchers and catchers had their first workout on Friday, but a few more faces were also there ahead of the full team report date on Feb. 14. Jason Heyward is already in Glendale, fed up with questions about Shohei Ohtani, who is also present and took batting practice to the delight of a massive media presence on Monday. Ohtani won't pitch this year, but it makes sense for him to be early and to be acquainting himself with the pitching staff before he makes his mound debut for the Dodgers in 2025.
Those same delighted media members took in Yoshinobu Yamamoto in the middle of a bullpen session this weekend, with trainers, manager Dave Roberts, and Ohtani looking on. Yamamoto, likely to be the team's No. 1 starter at least until Walker Buehler returns from rehab after Tommy John, will probably make his debut in Seoul on March 20 when the Dodgers take on the Padres.
The Dodgers posted a clip to their social media accounts of Ohtani looking on approvingly as Yamamoto threw, in a video that is likely to launch a thousand memes.
Shohei Ohtani, Dodgers management present as ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto throws first MLB pitches
Ohtani's reaction can and probably will be used a number of ways: Will the Dodgers win over 100 games? Nodding Shohei. Will they make a deep postseason run? Nodding Shohei. Could half of their lineup, if not more, make up most of the National League All-Star team? Nodding Shohei. The possibilities are endless.
Yamamoto was always going to be scrutinized closely as he wades into his first major league spring training; $325 million is a lot to live up to, and the differences between Japanese and American baseball demands some adjustments in his throwing approach, which he addressed briefly to media. If he is, indeed, the Dodgers' starter in the first Seoul game, then he'll have less time than any other pitcher in the league to prepare for it.
There are some reasons to be worried about Yamamoto's foray into the majors — he's never thrown a major league pitch, the baseball is different, and so on — but at least Ohtani seems both convinced and impressed. Will the Dodgers sweep the Padres in Seoul? Nodding Shohei.