Ohtani appears before Dodgers fans for first time

Major League two-way star Ohtani Shohei has appeared before fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the first time since he signed a contract with the team.

Ohtani took part in a fan festival at Dodger Stadium on Saturday. When he joined a talk show, many fans raised their smartphones to take photos and videos.

Asked what he thinks about the stadium filled with fans wearing the team's blue uniform, Ohtani said it makes a sharp contrast to his former team, the Los Angeles Angels, whose color is red. He said he feels that he has become a member of the Dodgers.

Asked about his relationship with his interpreter Mizuhara Ippei, Ohtani joked that they are only business partners, not friends.
Mizuhara has been interpreting for Ohtani since the baseball superstar joined the Angels.

In concluding the talk session, Ohtani said the only choice is to win the World Series, and it would be great if fans join the team's fight to achieve this goal.

Later, he spoke to reporters about the condition of his right elbow following surgery last year.

He said he has been hitting flips and off a tee and that he is likely to be hitting off a machine in a pre-season camp that will start on Friday in Arizona.

Ohtani added that he is "very confident we are right on schedule," indicating that he will play as a designated hitter in the season opener against the San Diego Padres to be held in South Korea on March 20.

As for pitching, he said he will probably start with throwing lightly in the camp and take a cautious approach.