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Mar 21, 2024 11:45 am

No questions: Dodgers shield Shohei Ohtani from media after interpreter fired

Ohtani

Dodgers public relations officials blocked media from asking Shohei Ohtani questions in South Korea on Thursday following the team firing his interpreter for an alleged connection to an illegal bookmaking operator.

Manager Dave Roberts said Thursday he never considered holding Ohtani out of the game but wouldn’t comment further on Ippei Mizuhara being fired, or the alleged circumstances around his dismissal.

“I can’t comment on that. Anything with that, the meeting, can’t comment,” Roberts said.

Roberts penciled Ohtani into the lineup — he batted second as designated hitter for the second straight game — and doesn’t plan to alter the batting order.

“Shohei is ready,” Roberts said.

Mizuhara, the longtime interpreter for Ohtani, was fired by the Dodgers on Wednesday. Multiple reports traced the firing to wire transfers from Ohtani’s bank account that were sent to a Southern California bookmaking operation.

Mizuhara’s spokesperson said he did not gamble on baseball. However, betting on sports is illegal in California, and gambling on any sport is against MLB rules.

Ohtani’s attorneys accused Mizuhara of “massive theft” tied to illegal gambling with reports that at least $4.5 million in wire transfers were sent to the bookmaking operation that is currently under federal investigation.

“In the course of responding to recent media inquiries, we discovered that Shohei has been the victim of a massive theft, and we are turning the matter over to the authorities,” a statement from West Hollywood law firm Berk Brettler LLP read.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Mizuhara was still interpreting for Ohtani on Wednesday when the Dodgers opened the regular season against the San Diego Padres in Seoul, South Korea. He was seen in the dugout during the first game of the series.

Mizuhara spoke to the team in the clubhouse to reveal that a story was coming out about him and that he had a gambling addiction, ESPN reported, citing a Dodgers spokesperson.

News reports allege Ohtani’s name is visible on documents showing two $500,000 payments. One was sent in September and the other in October to the bookmaking operation run by Mathew Bowyer.

In his first game since the story became public, Ohtani came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning in the second game of the series with a chance to tie or put Los Angeles ahead of the Padres, but he grounded out to first base. Ohtani was 3 for 10 in the two game Seoul Series in his first games as designated hitter of the Dodgers.

–Field Level Media

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