Dodgers’ Shohei Ohtani to skip home run derby

Shohei Ohtani is planning to skip the annual midseason home run derby.

The Los Angeles Dodgers slugger belted a go-ahead home run on Tuesday night, his league-best 27th, but said his recovery and rehabilitation from offseason elbow surgery will prevent him from taking part in the July 15 event held the day before the All-Star Game at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

Ohtani has been relegated to designated hitter duty this season, unable to pitch. The two-way star signed a 10-year, $700 million deal in the offseason, and the Dodgers knew he wouldn’t take the mound until 2025.

Ohtani turns 30 on Friday and has put up triple-crown numbers in his first season with the Dodgers. He leads the National League in average (.320) and home runs (27). His 64 RBIs place him third in the NL behind Alec Bohm of the Philadelphia Phillies (68) and Marcell Ozuna of the Atlanta Braves (67).

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the team’s season takes priority over the derby with Ohtani.

“He signed up here to help us win a championship, and nothing should get in the way of that,” Roberts said. “In any other normal situation where he wasn’t rehabbing, I think he would love to participate.”

Ohtani participated in the 2021 Home Run Derby at Coors Field in Denver. He set a record with six homers longer than 500 feet but was eliminated by Juan Soto, 31-28 in a first-round tiebreaker.

–Field Level Media