Shohei Ohtani Homers in Dodgers Spring Debut

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The defending American League MVP and biggest baseball star on the planet, Shohei Ohtani, saw game action on Tuesday for the first time this spring. And naturally, he homered for the first time in Los Angeles Dodgers blue.

The $700 million man (most of it deferred) struck out in his first at-bat, grounded into a double-play in his second at-bat, but then launched a two-run home run to left field in his third at-bat.

Ohtani is a true unicorn in baseball as a two-way star. But even though he won’t be a pitcher this season as he recovers from September elbow surgery, has him at +650 to win the National League MVP. Ohtani is just behind Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Atlanta Braves, last year’s winner, and tied with Dodgers teammate Mookie Betts, the American League MVP in 2018.

The Dodgers open the season on March 20 against the San Diego Padres in Seoul, South Korea, and even though Ohtani was in the lineup on Tuesday, he might not be ready for the two games in Korea.

Casey Mize Returns from Tommy John Surgery

For the first time in almost two years, former No. 1 overall draft pick Casey Mize was back on the mound for the Detroit Tigers. Mize made just two starts in 2022, his third year in the Majors, before injuring his elbow. Tommy John surgery cost him the rest of 2022 and all of 2023. But on Tuesday, he made 35 pitches for the Tigers against the Toronto Blue Jays.

“It’s rewarding. I was super happy to be back out there. I don’t know if I would call it a big game from a competitive standpoint. But to me, it was obviously important. It feels good.”

In Mize’s only full season with the Tigers in 2021, he made 30 starts and had an ERA of 3.71.

Michigan online sportsbooks have the Tigers at +350 to win the American League Central, trailing the Minnesota Twins, who are the favorite at -115. The Tigers are expected to bring Mize along slowly and start his season in Triple-A.

MLB Commissioner Still Backing A’s Move to Las Vegas

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred says the proposed move of the Oakland A’s to Las Vegas is still “solid.” Although he did acknowledge that the recent comments from Las Vegas mayor Carolyn Goodman were less than ideal

“It was a little rough with the mayor, Clark County vs. the city. But, you know, from my perspective, [Mayor Goodman] was the first person who ever talked to me about baseball in Las Vegas,” said Manfred.

“I understand all politics are local, and the county is different than the city. But I think the governor and the politicians in general in Las Vegas remain committed to the deal. I think the deal is going to happen.”

The A’s and owner John Fisher have received permission from MLB owners to move, and they were granted $380 million in public financing for a new stadium, planned for the current site of the Tropicana hotel. But the majority of the financing has yet to be secured, multiple deadlines for stadium renderings have been missed, the home of the A’s for 2025-2027 is still unknown, and a Nevada teacher’s group has sued to block the state from issuing the $380 million in taxpayer money.

The Nevada State Education Association is preparing an injunction to stop the use of public funds on the grounds that it is unconstitutional. They look instead to put the matter to a vote, which requires them to collect more than 100,000 signatures by June 26.

Speaking at the Oakland A’s Fan Fest, Chris Daly, the NESA deputy executive director of government relations, said, “When we finally kill the Tropicana stadium deal, it will be a combination of these Oakland A’s fans, our efforts at Schools Over Stadiums and Strong Public Schools, and John Fisher’s ineptitude.”

Baseball online sportsbooks have set the over/under on A’s wins this coming season at an MLB-low 56.5. No other team is under 60.

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