Simon Romanov

Ohtani misses pitching, but does DH-only role boost plate production?

Shohei Ohtani misses one thing about major league pitching nine months after his last start. The nerves.  

“There’s a distinct nervousness on start days,” Ohtani told reporters in Japanese on Monday after updating media on his recovery from his second Tommy John surgery last year.  

He continued, “I think that’s the same for everyone”. Nervousness exists. I miss it. The feeling will remain unavailable to Ohtani for now.  

Over the first two months of his first year with the Dodgers, he endured plenty of other pressure. Ohtani has met expectations as a bat since signing his $700 million offseason contract.

He was the leading leagues hitter (.336), National League slugger (.621), and OPS (1.024) entering Monday, and only teammate Mookie Betts had lesser chances for MVP.  

The two-way star has also dealt with the gambling and theft issue involving his former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, which he occasionally discusses in the media.  

“I don’t think the mental side affects my play,” Ohtani said. "I think you can hit regardless of your mental condition with good technique. I want to separate off-field issues from on-field issues. Ohtani has also played through minor injuries in previous weeks.

He missed one game this month due to back discomfort. Last week, a first base pickoff throw hit him in the back of the leg, causing a right hamstring contusion that limits his baserunning pace.  

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