Shohei Ohtani 'Relieved' After Blasting First Dodgers Homer

It took nine games, but Ohtani is finally on the board.
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Shohei Ohtani figures to hit hundreds of home runs for the Los Angeles Dodgers unless something goes horribly wrong but it was still good to get the first one out of the way. The two-time MVP signed a 10-year, $700 million deal this offseason and had gone the first eight games of his tenure without creating a big fly. That changed on Wednesday night when he launched a 430-foot off the San Francisco Giants pitcher Taylor Rodgers in the seventh inning of Los Angeles' 5-4 victory.

“Honestly, very relieved that I was able to hit my first homer,” Ohtani said through interpreter Will Ireton after the game. “It’s been awhile, and honestly my swing hasn’t been great. So, overall very relieved.”

It's a very small sample size, but Ohtani is correct about his swing this year. His OPS is sitting at .749 and he's fanned in nine of his 37 official at-bats. There's obviously been some stuff going on off the field during the past few weeks so a mini-slump could probably be expected.

“You just never learn about a person until they go through some adversity, whether on the field, or in this case, off the field,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I’ve learned that he’s unflappable. He really is. It might not be the production that we expect and we know is gonna happen. But in terms of his demeanor, the way he comes in every day, he does a good job of separating work from the other stuff.”

The atypical production has done little to stop the Dodgers, who have plenty of other All-Stars to fall back on and have won seven of their first nine games. Throw in a locked-in Ohtani to the mix and it's hard to imagine any scenario in which they fail to win 100 games this season.

Kyle Koster is an editor at The Big Lead.

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