Shohei Ohtani homers in first live batting practice with Dodgers

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By jeenmediaa

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Shohei Ohtani hit a towering home run in his first batting practice against live pitching since he underwent reconstructive elbow surgery — another step toward him playing in the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ season-opening series against the San Diego Padres in Seoul.

Facing Dodgers reliever J.P. Feyereisen on Monday, Ohtani unloaded on a fastball and sent it over the right-center-field fence. The immense crowd at the Dodgers’ Camelback Ranch facility — typically the largest in the Cactus League, but even bigger with the $1 billion-plus the Dodgers spent to sign Ohtani and right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto — was there mostly for Ohtani.

Ohtani first faced Dodgers right-hander Ryan Brasier and then right-hander Blake Treinen, against whom he fouled a ball off his foot and howled in pain. He recovered in plenty of time for the at-bat against Feyereisen. While he had astounded teammates with his power in regular batting practice sessions, live BP is the nearest facsimile to game conditions.

“When he hit it, I’m like, oh, he’s Shohei, so he’s got power,” Feyereisen said. “Then I turned around, I’m like, well, there’s another one. So it was good. It was fun to see. And obviously he looks like he’s ready to go.

“I get that he’s got this big following. He’s 700 million [dollars]. But he’s our teammate as well. … When he steps in the box, you just got to go and attack him, and obviously he attacked me.”

While Ohtani will not play in the Dodgers’ spring opener Thursday against San Diego, he’s expected to participate in games before the teams fly to Korea for their two-game series March 20-21.

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