Dodgers Team News

Shohei Ohtani Expected to Return to Lineup Monday Against Giants

Whenever the most valuable offensive player in baseball misses a game, it’s national news. Whenever Shohei Ohtani breaths, it’s international news.

Ohtani missing two games over the weekend against the San Diego Padres with a minor back injury was a small story made bigger by the fact that the Dodgers were shut out Sunday in a 4-0 loss. It was only their second shutout loss of the season.

With the Dodgers headed to San Francisco to resume their always-intense rivalry against the Giants, it comes as welcome news that Ohtani will be back in the lineup. Dave Roberts had already penciled Ohtani in to the series opener against the Giants — he’ll bat second, we assume — by the time he addressed reporters after Sunday’s game in San Diego.

“I was pretty clear that he wasn’t going to play today. We’re in the middle of 13 in a row. He was gonna get a day at some point in time. So with a little bit of smoke, I just want to make sure we put that to bed,” Roberts told reporters Sunday, including Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group. “We need him healthy for the long run. It’s still one game, and his health is most important. So there’s no reason to push it right now.”

Ohtani leads all of MLB in several offensive categories including slugging percentage, OPS, weighted on-base percentage, and weighted runs created plus (per FanGraphs). His .352 batting average is the best in the National League, and second only to the Cleveland Guardians’ Steven Kwan among all MLB hitters. Ohtani has also hit 11 home runs and stolen nine bases, both tops on the Dodgers.

Given his importance to the Dodgers’ lineup, Roberts’ cautious approach with Ohtani is understandable. Not only do the Dodgers want to protect their $700 million investment, they want him healthy for a potential World Series run this autumn. Via Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times:

Asked if the promise of playing in October made it easier for him to accept Roberts’ decision, Ohtani wouldn’t say.

“Regardless” of the condition of his back, Ohtani said in Japanese, “there was thought of a day off.”

— via the Los Angeles Times

Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

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JP Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra writes and edits Major League Baseball content for and is the author of 'The 50 Greatest Dodger Games Of All Time.' He once recorded a keyboard solo on the same album as two of the original Doors. Follow at

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