Shohei Ohtani not expected to participate in 2024 Home Run Derby while continuing rehab from elbow surgery

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A week after expressing interest in partaking in this year’s Home Run Derby, Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani indicated that he’s unlikely to be in the field after all. Ohtani cited his recovery from the elbow surgery that has and will continue to prevent him from pitching until the 2025 season.

“I’m in the middle of my rehab progression, so it’s not going to look like I’ll be participating,” Ohtani said through interpreter Will Ireton on Tuesday night.

“In any other normal situation where he wasn’t rehabbing, I think he would love to participate,” manager Dave Roberts added. “I know that it’s weighed heavy on him, but I do think the rehab process is something that ultimately makes him feel better about bowing out.”

Ohtani, 30 come Friday, ranks second in the sport in home runs and has had a tremendous start to his first season with the Dodgers. Over the course of his first 83 games, he’s hit .320/.402/.646 27 home runs and 16 stolen bases. His contributions have been worth nearly 5 Wins Above Replacement to date, according to Baseball Reference’s estimates, putting him on pace to eclipse the 9-win threshold and perhaps threaten 10 if he should remain hearty and hale the rest of the way.

Ohtani has previously joined the Derby field just once before, with that coming in 2021 at Coors Field. He homered 28 times that night, but lost in his head-to-head matchup with Juan Soto, who launched 31 to advance.

This year’s Home Run Derby, slated for Monday, July 15, at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, will have a new format. Major League Baseball revealed on Sunday that there will no longer be a head-to-head aspect in the first round. Instead, all eight players will compete with one another, with the top four performers advancing to the next round. MLB also announced some timing changes to the Home Run Derby format that you can read more about by clicking here.

Thus far, only one player has entered the Derby field, with that being Baltimore Orioles shortstop Gunnar Henderson. Fellow sluggers Aaron Judge (Yankees), who leads MLB with 32 home runs, and Yordan Alvarez (Astros) have declined to partake in the annual event.

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