Dodgers manager Dave Roberts’ intriguing Shohei Ohtani take on Ippei Mizuhara firing

A cloud of uncertainty looms over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Amid all the drama surrounding Shohei Ohtani and his former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, the team continues Spring Training with an ongoing investigation in the background. Regardless, there seems to be a silver lining to the whole thing, based on recent comments by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts' intriguing Shohei Ohtani take on Ippei  Mizuhara firing

Roberts openly expressed that Mizuhara’s absence felt like the removal of a “buffer” between Ohtani and the organization. He said that communication with the Dodgers star was “difficult” at times with Mizuhara as the middleman. Additionally, Roberts hopes that there will now be more direct communication between them and Ohtani, (per the Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya).

Following the firing of Mizuhara, LA opted to go with Will Ireton as Ohtani’s new interpreter. Ireton has been a member of the Dodgers organization since 2016 and has interpreted for Kenta Maeda during the pitcher’s tenure in LA.

Shohei Ohtani’s ongoing situation

Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani throws before the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium

As for Ohtani, the two-way superstar begins his Dodgers tenure on a rough patch of road.

Moving to the Dodgers by signing the largest deal in MLB history, Ohtani joins an organization that’s made it clear they’re looking for nothing less than a World Series title. However, amid their Spring Training preparations, disaster struck.

Reports about the firing of Mizuhara made headlines, prompting the ongoing investigation by the MLB. Mizuhara is accused of stealing around $4.5 million from Ohtani’s bank account and using the money to pay for his (Mizuhara’s) gambling debts. Amid the allegations, the Dodgers decided to let go of the interpreter.

Ohtani himself recently released a statement on the ordeal.

“I never bet on baseball or any other sorts and have never asked someone to do so on my behalf and have never bet through a bookmaker,” Ohtani said. “Until a couple of days ago, I didn’t know this was happening. … Ippei has stolen money from my account and told lies.”

Dodgers players stand behind Shohei Ohtani

Los Angeles Dodgers Sho-Time shirts of designated hitter Shohei Ohtani at the Los Angeles International Airport

Despite all the drama, Ohtani’s teammates have his back. Infielder Max Muncy believes his teammate’s claim.

“We’re all behind the guy,” Muncy said, per The Sporting News’ Bryan Murphy. “For me, where I come from, you’re innocent until proven guilty. So the guy has told us face-to-face what he believes is the truth. That’s what I’m going off of, and I believe him 100%. I have his back on that.”

Outfielder Kike Hernandez also chimed in, complimenting the way Ohtani is handling the whole situation.

“He’s handling this way better than I would,” Hernandez said. “Betrayal is hard…And he’s doing a great job of not letting it (distract) him from what he needs to do on the field and his work.”

Shortstop Miguel Rojas gave his two cents as well, making it clear that he’ll be there in support of his teammate.

“I can’t talk about what he’s feeling, but I can talk about being a teammate of his, and to see him go through that, it’s a lot. I feel for the guy. All you can do is be here for him and support him,” Rojas said.

There’s no conclusion to the whole thing yet, but the Dodgers are surely hoping that it all ends well so they can fully focus on reaching their goals for this year’s campaign.

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