Shohei Ohtani expresses interest in participating in Home Run Derby, though star slugger will need approval

Written by on June 27, 2024

When the Home Run Derby takes place next month, Shohei Ohtani wants to be there. The Los Angeles Dodgers star said Wednesday he would like to participate in the Home Run Derby, though nothing is set in stone yet, and the Dodgers don’t sound enthusiastic about the idea. Ohtani is only hitting this season as he works his way back from September elbow surgery.

“I have to get an offer (to participate) first. I’m also rehabilitating, so I need the doctor’s approval and the trainers’ approval and the team’s approval,” Ohtani said (via the Los Angeles Times). “Of course, I have feelings of wanting to do it. I think any player would. I think it depends on how it lines up with the other parts.”

Ohtani is hitting in games this season — and hitting extremely well — but hitting in a Home Run Derby is different. It’s a different setting and is as much an endurance competition as it is a power competition. With that in mind, the medical staff’s approval is not necessarily a slam dunk.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, “I’d probably not want him to do it,” but acknowledged he’ll support Ohtani no matter what he decides to do. “For the game, I think it’s great … Obviously, he’s the biggest star in the game, and it makes (the Home Run Derby) more attractive,” Roberts said (via the Los Angeles Times).

In 2021, Ohtani became the first pitcher and the first Japanese-born player to participate in the Home Run Derby. He was eliminated in the first round by Juan Soto in a swing-off tiebreaker at Coors Field. It is the only time Ohtani has been in the Home Run Derby. 

Ohtani is leading the All-Star Game fan-voting for NL DHs, so he’ll be at the All-Star Game one way or the either. Either fans vote him in as a starter or he’ll get in through the players’ vote. Ohtani entered play Wednesday hitting .320/.398/.634 and leading the NL with 24 home runs and 196 total bases.

New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge recently said he is passing on this year’s Home Run Derby. The eight Home Run Derby participants will be announced within the next two weeks.

The 2024 Home Run Derby will take place at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, on Monday, July 15.

The post Shohei Ohtani expresses interest in participating in Home Run Derby, though star slugger will need approval first appeared on CBS Sports.

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