Dodgers Team News

Dodgers’ Shohei Ohtani Has Made a Decision on the Home Run Derby

It appears Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani will not be competing in the Home Run Derby after all. Ohtani had previously expressed interest in competing in the derby this year, and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the decision would be left up to Ohtani. However, he won’t compete in the event as he is still in the middle of his rehab and pitching progression after undergoing a torn UCL last year.

“There’s been some conversations going on,” Ohtani said through interpreter Will Ireton. “I’m in the middle of my (elbow) rehab progression, so it’s not going to look like I’ll be participating.”

This decision comes as Ohtani and the Dodgers want to limit any chance or risk of Ohtani sustaining an injury or delaying his progress during the derby.

“He is going through rehab, and his job, he signed up to play for the Dodgers and to take care of himself the best way he can,” Roberts said. “And so I think in any other normal situation, where he wasn’t rehabbing, I think he would love to participate. But then you layer on something that is so unique to anyone, the volume of swings, the intensity of it, it would just be a real disappointment for not only Shohei, the Dodgers, and also the fans, if something were to happen during something like that.”

Of course, a huge appeal of Ohtani competing in the derby would be to draw more eyes to the sport as he is one of the most popular figures in sports across the globe — and Roberts understands that.

“No player moves the needle in baseball more than Shohei, as far as on a global scale,” Roberts said. “So that responsibility, he feels more weight, is real … The reason he came to the Dodgers was to win a championship, and it’s not solely his responsibility to carry Major League Baseball.”

Ohtani has competed in the Home Run Derby just once in his MLB career back in 2021, but he was eliminated in the first round. He should have the opportunity to compete in it again when fully healthy.

The Home Run Derby will take place on July 15.

Photo Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

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Eva Geitheim

Eva graduated from UCLA in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in Communication. She has been covering college and professional sports since 2022.

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