Shohei Ohtani

Report: Ohtani helping Dodgers recruit Giants target Yamamoto

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Shohei Ohtani hasn't stepped on the mound for the Los Angeles Dodgers yet -- and won't for a while after getting elbow surgery last September -- but he already is helping the team with its pitching.

Recruitment pitching, that is.

The two-way sensation was joined by Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and more during the Dodgers' presentation to Yoshinobu Yamamoto on Tuesday, The Athletic's Fabian Ardaya and Ken Rosenthal reported.

Ohtani already did the Dodgers a favor by deferring almost all of the money in his historic 10-year, $700 million contract to 2034. The goal was to help the Dodgers reel in more talent, and it appears Ohtani is wasting no time assisting in that effort.

Yamamoto is the most coveted free agent on the market now that Ohtani is locked in with the Dodgers. The 25-year-old righty has played in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball since 2017 and was Ohtani's teammate when Japan won the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

While the Dodgers still have money to spend thanks to Ohtani's contract deferral, they could use all the help they can get reeling in Yamamoto. Their NL West-rival Giants reportedly met with Yamamoto on Sunday as he makes the free agent rounds. Ardaya and Rosenthal also reported that the New York Mets, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox are interested in signing him.

Yamamoto was greeted at Dodger Stadium with video displays of his name and likeness in the team's uniform, per to Ardaya and Rosenthal's report. Depending on Ohtani's influence, that image can soon become a reality.

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