Shohei Ohtani chooses most ironic day possible to return to throwing

Los Angeles Angels v Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles Angels v Los Angeles Dodgers / Michael Owens/GettyImages

On Monday evening, Shohei Ohtani broke his silence on the biggest scandal currently gripping MLB, which is all but guaranteed to have long-term consequences not only for all parties involved but the league itself. His longtime translator and friend, Ippei Mizuhara, has been accused of "massive theft" by Ohtani and his representatives after accumulating $4.5 million in illegal sports betting debt. Mizuhara first alleged that Ohtani agreed to help him pay off that balance, while Ohtani's camp insisted that he had been stolen from.

Ohtani's level of involvement and prior knowledge of the situation has been in question since the beginning, but he brought a prepared statement to the press conference on Monday to maintain his ignorance of the situation and his innocence throughout. He insisted that he never bet on sports or had anyone do it for him, and that he never agreed to help Mizuhara pay off his debt.

But Ohtani is nothing if not a professional. He began speaking at 2:45 PM PST, finished around 3:00, then was back on the field at Dodger Stadium just 10 minutes later, throwing in public for the first time since elbow surgery shut him down last year. Business as usual.

Shohei Ohtani spotted throwing at Dodger Stadium after Ippei Mizuhara press conference

Before their first game against the Padres on March 20, the Dodgers announced Ohtani's intention to begin his throwing program when they returned to the States, and even changed their tune on Ohtani possibly getting playing time in the outfield during games this season. Of course, everything was quickly overshadowed by ESPN's bombshell reporting of the Mizuhara situation, which made it difficult to think about on-field-Ohtani between all of the speculation about who he was off the field.

However, it's still true that Ohtani will only be able to do half of what makes him such a special player this year, and we have an entirely separate skillset to look forward to seeing from him next season. Especially with the Dodgers expected to open their season in his home country of Japan next season against the Cubs, having Ohtani ready to pitch by the beginning of the season seems like a top priority not just for Ohtani himself or the team, but for MLB.

It's reassuring that the Dodgers' $700 million man isn't letting the controversy keep him from doing his job, but he certainly couldn't have picked a funnier time to get back to it.