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Shohei Ohtani crushes home run for Los Angeles Dodgers in Spring Training debut

By Matias Grez, CNN

(CNN) — Shohei Ohtani got his Los Angeles Dodgers career off to a blistering start on Tuesday, crushing a huge home run in his Spring Training debut in the team’s 9-6 Cactus League victory over the Chicago White Sox.

After striking and grounding out on his first two trips to the plate, the Japanese two-way superstar gave the fans a show with his two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth.

It was the first time Ohtani, who signed a historic 10-year, $700 million deal with the Dodgers in December after weeks of fevered speculation, had stepped up to the plate since undergoing elbow surgery in September.

Ohtani, the reigning American League MVP, likely won’t return to the mound to pitch until 2025, according to the physician who performed the surgery.

“It was definitely a big first step,” Ohtani told reporters through a translator. “The biggest thing was I was able to finish off the game without any problems.

“I definitely felt good at the plate. It felt better each time I got up. We’re trending in the right direction.

“I thought I hit it a little too high initially,” Ohtani added of his homer. “But maybe the Arizona factor factored in a little bit.

“There were not really any nerves because it’s just Spring Training, but I’m just more focused on getting ready for the season and doing what I’ve got to do.”

The Dodgers continue Spring Training against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday and the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday.

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