Yoshinobu Yamamoto strikes out THREE batters in his LA Dodgers spring training debut as the Japanese right-hander hits the ground running against the Texas Rangers

  • Yamamoto finalized a massive $325million, 12-year deal with LA this offseason
  • The Dodgers believe he can develop into an ace of a strong big-league rotation 
  • DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news 

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto struck out three batters over two scoreless innings in his spring training debut against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday.

Yamamoto gave a glimpse into why the Dodgers believe the Japanese right-hander can become an ace of a big-league rotation.

The 25-year-old right hander opened by striking out Rangers All-Star Marcus Semien on six pitches, then gave up Evan Carter’s single before Wyatt Langford grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Yamamoto started the second against the defending World Series champion by striking out Nathaniel Lowe on three pitches and retiring Jonah Heim on a flyout to left. Working with a long, deliberate windup and a fastball that hovered in the mid-90s, Yamamoto ended his outing by striking out Leody Taveras on four pitches.

He threw 16 of 19 pitches for strikes, showing the impeccable command that made him a star in Japan.

LA Dodgers pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto struck out three batters on his spring training debut

Yamamoto, left, and DH Shohei Ohtani both signed massive contracts with LA this year

Yamamoto, left, and DH Shohei Ohtani both signed massive contracts with LA this year

Lowe and Taveras took particularly weak swings on strike three, highlighting Yamamoto’s dominance.

Yamamoto has been the less-publicized part of a $1billion offseason investment by the Dodgers into a pair of Japanese stars. 

Los Angeles signed Shohei Ohtani to a record $700 million, 10-year contract in December while Yamamoto finalized his $325 million, 12-year deal a few weeks later.

Ohtani has played six seasons in Major League Baseball with the Los Angeles Angels, winning two AL MVP awards and making three All-Star teams. Yamamoto is making his debut in the U.S. this season, though his recent performances in Japan have been phenomenal.

Listed at 5-foot-10, Yamamoto has been Japan’s most dominant pitchers over the past several seasons, with a 16-6 record and a 1.21 ERA for the Orix Buffaloes in 2023. He has a career 1.72 ERA in Japan in nearly 1,000 innings. His six-pitch repertoire includes a dependable splitter, an effective four-seam fastball and a vicious curveball.

The Dodgers believe he has the talent to be a staff ace in the U.S. and his presence will be vital in 2024 while Ohtani – a rare two-way star – recovers from an elbow injury . Ohtani will hit in 2024 but isn’t expected to pitch until 2025.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk