Dodgers Team News

Dodgers’ Mark Prior Provides Update on Shohei Ohtani Throwing Program, When He Could Return

Shohei Ohtani has been one of the best players in baseball in 2024 — and he’s only using half his skill.

The two-way superstar underwent offseason surgery to repair a torn UCL, and is only hitting in 2024. He only recently started a throwing program, and has been progressing over the first few months of the season.

Recently, Dodgers pitching coach Mark Prior was on MLB Network Radio and gave an update on Ohtani’s throwing program. He made it clear that Ohtani is in the early stages of his progression.

“I’ll be honest, I’m enjoying being a spectator of his hitting right now. So we haven’t built in too much on the pitching standpoint,” Prior said. “Obviously, we’re watching him throwing and he’ll progress through summer. And I think once he starts getting into more of some serious long toss and we start approaching the mound, I think that’s when more of these conversations on pitching will evolve… But we haven’t gotten like too intimate on the pitching side other than him just eventually starting with the initial throwing program and we’ll see where he gets to it by the end of the summer. And hopefully, by playoffs, he’s up on the mound and starting to face some hitters.”

While the Dodgers have all but ruled out a return to the mound in 2024, Prior believes Ohtani could potentially face live hitters by the end of the season. That would put him in great position to attack the offseason as a two-way player, and set himself up to pitch come the beginning of 2025.

While Ohtani isn’t pitching this year, though, he’s still very active with the pitchers, according to Prior.

“He’s obviously around the fringes of a lot of our pitching conversations, seeing how guys work,” Prior said.” He’s very active in advising and helping and being a sounding board for (Yoshinobu) Yamamoto as well. So he definitely has a sense of what’s going on.”

Ohtani is off to the best start of his career offensively, slashing .356/.425/.655 with 13 home runs, 34 RBIs, 17 doubles, and 13 stolen bases. His 1.080 OPS leads all of MLB, and would be the best of his career.

Ohtani is continuing to improve — even after winning two unanimous MVPs — and is making good on the $700 million investment the Dodgers made on him as a one-way player.

Then, in 2025, he’ll return to his two-way capabilities.

Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Noah Camras

Noah is an Editor for Dodgers Nation. He graduated from USC in 2022 with a B.A. in Journalism and minor in Sports Media Studies. He's been a Dodger fan his whole life, and his all-time favorite Dodgers are Matt Kemp and Russell Martin.


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