Yamamoto, Glasnow 'safe bet' to start Dodgers' Seoul series

ByAlden Gonzalez ESPN logo
Thursday, February 22, 2024

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Shohei Ohtani remains on track to start at designated hitter when the Los Angeles Dodgers open their season in South Korea, and the team's two other major additions could join him.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Tyler Glasnow are currently on track to start the two-game Seoul Series against the division-rival San Diego Padres from March 20-21, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Tuesday.

Roberts said it's a "safe bet" both will start but cautioned that plans could change.

"This is a unique ramp-up for everyone," Roberts said as part of a spring training media event in which managers and general managers from all of the Cactus League teams were made available. "It's two games that matter, but it's just two games. So the entirety of the season and making sure these guys are ready to take down starts -- that's most important."

The Dodgers essentially agreed to the terms of a trade to acquire Glasnow from the Tampa Bay Rays the same day they introduced Ohtani on Dec. 14, with Glasnow agreeing to a five-year, $136.6 million extension before even joining them.

Seven days later, they added Yamamoto on a 12-year, $325 million deal, putting the Dodgers' offseason splurge at roughly $1.2 billion when factoring in Ohtani's highly-deferred 10-year, $700 million contract.

The Dodgers began spring training about a week earlier than every team other than the Padres in order to prepare for the earlier start to their season, and most of their pitchers are ahead of where they typically might be this time of year. Glasnow and Yamamoto, for example, have already faced hitters in live-batting-practice sessions from the Dodgers' spring training facility.

Ohtani and Yamamoto hail from Japan but have a major following in South Korea. Ohtani has become the biggest baseball star in the world, but Yamamoto is fresh off winning three consecutive MVP Awards in Japan.

Yamamoto on the mound and Ohtani in the lineup on the same day would captivate an entire nation.

"I think it's fair to say that's our hope," Roberts said of Yamamoto. "But I don't think I am -- or we are -- beholden to that if it doesn't make sense."

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