Ohtani will talk to the media for the first time after the interpreter was accused of illegal gambling and theft.


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Shohei Ohtani plans to speak to the media for the first time Monday since allegations of illegal gambling and theft emerged involving the Los Angeles Dodgers star and his interpreter during the team’s trip to South Korea.

interpreterIppei Mizuhara was fired by the Dodgers last week after the team opened the season with two games against the San Diego Padres in Seoul.

Manager Dave Roberts supported Ohtani by publicly addressing the matter. He said that doing so was a two-way superstar’s decision.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Roberts said. “I’m glad he will speak out and speak on what he knows and give his thoughts on the whole situation. “I think that will give all of us a little more clarity.”

Following reports by the Los Angeles Times and ESPN about his alleged ties to an illegal bookmaker, and claims by Ohtani’s lawyers that the Japanese star was the victim of “large-scale theft”, Mizuhara was kicked off the team.

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Ohtani made only a brief appearance in the Dodgers clubhouse before Sunday’s Freeway Series opener against his former team, the Los Angeles Angels. The teams are playing three exhibition games before hosting the Dodgers in their home opener on Thursday in St. Louis.

Ohtani was set to bat second as the designated hitter at Dodger Stadium. He is also expected to play Monday and Tuesday in Anaheim, where he was a two-time AL MVP before leaving the Angels as a free agent to sign a record $700 million, 10-year contract with the Dodgers in December.

Roberts said Ohtani did not address his teammates as a group.

“I think he had a one-time conversation with the players,” Roberts said.

The manager said he checked in with Ohtani to see how he was doing.

“He’s business as usual,” Roberts said.

Ohtani has a double locker located between the shower rooms in the Dodgers clubhouse and fellow Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who is set to make his second start of the season on Saturday against St. Louis.

Additional security was deployed at the jam-packed clubhouse on Sunday. In addition to the crowd of players and media, eight temporary lockers were set up at one end for minor league players brought in from Arizona for the Freeway Series.

Overhead televisions were tuned to men’s NCAA Tournament games, baseball and horse racing, with former Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Paul Lo Duca offering TV handicapping tips on the day’s races.

The MLB Gambling Policy is posted in each clubhouse. Betting on baseball – legally or not – is punishable with a one-year ban from the sport. Fines for illegal betting on other sports depend on the discretion of the commissioner. Sports gambling is illegal in California, although 38 states and the District of Columbia allow it in some form.

“The atmosphere in the room is like getting ready for baseball because I don’t hear a lot of conversation and speculation,” Roberts said. “So I think tomorrow will be good for everyone.”

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