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Shohei Ohtani lost sleep after the translator was accused of stealing millions of dollars from him

AP Photo/Jeff Dean
Los Angeles Dodgers’ Shohei Ohtani sits in the dugout during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Cincinnati.

NEW YORK (AP) — Shohei Ohtani says he has lost sleep after his translator was accused of stealing millions of dollars from the baseball star.

Ippei Mizuhara was fired by the Los Angeles Dodgers after the season opener on March 21 when a federal gambling investigation became public. Mizuhara agreed to plead guilty to bank and tax fraud in a sports betting case in which prosecutors allege he stole nearly $17 million from the two-time AL MVP to pay off debts.

“I think the thing that has affected me the most is just being able to sleep well,” Ohtani said through a translator on Monday before the Dodgers series opener at the New York Mets was rained out. “Now that I’ve been able to do that, I’ve also come to the realization that how I feel mentally off the field shouldn’t influence my abilities. I am confident that I could still play without being affected by everything that happens off the field.”

In the first season of a record $700 million, 10-year contract with the Dodgers, Ohtani entered Monday with a major league-leading .336 batting average, 13 home runs, 35 RBIs and 13 stolen bases. His total bases of 131 topped the major leagues and he was third in OPS at 1,024 behind the Yankees’ Aaron Judge and Houston’s Kyle Tucker.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts revealed Saturday that Ohtani was playing with a bruised left hamstring.

Ohtani was injured on May 16 – his bobblehead night at Dodger Stadium – when he was hit by a pickoff attempt by Cincinnati left-hander Brent Suter with a 2-2 count against Freddie Freeman. While bending over, Ohtani grabbed his left leg, fell on his left knee, stood up, patted his left leg and winced. Two throws later he stole second.

“It got worse the next day and started feeling it more and more the more I ran,” Ohtani said through his new translator, Will Ireton. “It’s getting better every day. It’s for sure – today is a lot better than yesterday.”

Ohtani, who turns 30 on July 5, showed signs of a hamstring injury when he failed to run at full speed during a triple on Saturday in Cincinnati.

“I knew straight away it was going to be a pretty easy triple,” he said. “But in retrospect, knowing it was (Elly) De La Cruz, it was a little closer than I thought.”

“Obviously the legs aren’t that great, but I personally don’t think it affects the swing,” Ohtani added.

AP Photo/Ashley Landis
Los Angeles Dodgers design hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) reacts after returning to first base during the first inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds in Los Angeles, Thursday, May 16, 2024.

He left a May 11 game in San Diego in the ninth inning due to back tightness and did not play the next day.

“I feel pretty good with the back. I have been training and making sure it is in a good place,” he said.

An unprecedented two-way player, Ohtani has a .279 average in seven big league seasons with 184 home runs, 472 RBIs and 99 stolen bases while going 38-19 with a 3.01 ERA in 86 starts with 608 strikeouts in 481 2/3 innings .

He will not pitch this year after tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow for the second time on August 23 while pitching for the Los Angeles Angels. He underwent surgery on September 19 and expects to return to the mound next season.

“A starting pitcher can tell you there’s a little bit of nervousness in a game, a game we’re going into,” Ohtani said. “So in a way I do miss that kind of atmosphere. But right now I’m really just focused on making progress every day.”

He hasn’t concluded yet whether his offense has improved because he isn’t throwing.

“It’s hard to say at the moment. I have to play the whole season to see if I can really say that,” Ohtani explained.

Ohtani said he threw from 60 feet last week at 80 mph. He threw at Citi Field in the rain.

“Just gradually increase the distance, usually putting it somewhere between 60 and 70,” he said. “I don’t know exactly how far I’m going to go yet.”



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