Dodgers’ Yoshinobu Yamamoto shines in first MLB action since signing massive $325M deal


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The Los Angeles Dodgers got to see their other Japanese phenom in action on Wednesday as right-handed starter Yoshinobu Yamamoto took the mound in spring training.

Many eyes are on Shohei Ohtani and his record $700 million, 10-year contract he signed with the Dodgers this offseason, but Los Angeles went over a billion dollars when Yamamoto, the top starter on the market after dominating the Nippon Professional Baseball league in Japan, signed a $325 million deal over 12 years.

Well, Yamamoto showed everyone why the Dodgers put lots of faith in him, especially financially, in just two innings of work for his first outing in MLB.

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Yoshinobu Yamamoto pitches

Yoshinobu Yamamoto of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a warm-up pitch against the Texas Rangers during a spring training game at Surprise Stadium on February 28, 2024, in Surprise, Arizona. (Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Taking on the reigning World Series champion Texas Rangers, Yamamoto’s first batter was Marcus Semien, and he shot right out of the gate with a strikeout. On a 2-2 count, he pumped a fastball high in the zone, which Semien swung right through for the first out.

Evan Carter was able to get a single off Yamamoto, but Wyatt Langford grounded out into a double play to end the inning.

PRIZED JAPANESE PITCHER YOSHINOBU YAMAMOTO INKS MASSIVE DEAL WITH DODGERS: REPORTS

In the second, Yamamoto looked even more dialed in as he got Nathaniel Lowe to swing and miss at a filthy splitter, which hit the dirt. 

Then, after Jonah Heim flew out to left field, Leody Taveras was set down on three pitches for Yamamoto’s third strikeout of the day.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto

Yoshinobu Yamamoto of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws in the bullpen during a spring training session at Camelback Ranch on February 26, 2024, in Glendale, Arizona. (Masterpress/Getty Images)

Of course, spring training outings, especially in the beginning, are going to be short to avoid fatiguing pitchers before the regular season. But the Dodgers must be feeling great after seeing Yamamoto going against his first batters that won’t be teammates this season. 

The 25-year-old went through his entire pitch arsenal through his two innings, showing the life his high-90s fastball has, as well as that splitter and a tight-breaking curveball.

Yamamoto’s performance in Japan captivated every MLB scout looking to get him in their starting rotation. He posted a 1.72 ERA in 967.2 innings over seven seasons in the NPB. 

At 25 years old, a talent like Yamamoto doesn’t come often, and the Dodgers weren’t shutting their checkbooks after the Ohtani deal.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto pitches

Yoshinobu Yamamoto of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a second-inning pitch against the Texas Rangers during a spring training game at Surprise Stadium on February 28, 2024, in Surprise, Arizona. (Norm Hall/Getty Images)

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This is just the first taste of what the Dodgers hope continues to happen with Yamamoto when the regular season rolls around.



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