More than most of the other major professional sports, baseball has a long history of scandal. The Black Sox, the Mitchell Report, Pete Rose.

For now, Shohei Ohtani doesn’t look destined to join the list. But he’s making the one mistake that all but guarantees more scrutiny: He refuses to talk about what happened with his interpreter and this large gambling debt that Ohtani may have been naive enough to pay directly to an illegal bookmaker under federal investigation.

Ippei Mizuhara, Ohtani’s ex-interpreter, is accused of stealing money from the two-way star to place bets with a bookmaker being investigated by American authorities. The Dodgers fired Mizuhara on Wednesday, hours after he was in L.A.’s dugout for their regular season-opening game in Seoul, South Korea.

It’s very early in the process and we’ll give Ohtani the benefit of the doubt for now that the basic facts of the situation are as they’ve been presented. The Dodgers were overseas when the story broke, and being that far from home is a hindrance to top-notch crisis communication.

As a member of the large-market Dodgers and being Japanese, Ohtani has a massive two-pronged media contingent that follows him. So there was immediately a horde of people prepared to hear what he had to say about this unfolding controversy.

Instead, we’re left with descriptions of Ohtani being physically shielded by Dodgers staff in the clubhouse and otherwise taking great pains to stay in areas where reporters aren’t allowed. The biggest news story in baseball has Ohtani’s name attached to it and he’s leaving a vacuum to be filled by speculation, conjecture, and more digging by reporters.

Ohtani’s built a reputation in his professional career as a smiling cipher with no outward flaws who’s big enough to contain the hopes and dreams of all his fans. Access to him was carefully controlled when he was in Anaheim. But early in spring training, manager Dave Roberts seemed to make it clear that the Dodgers and his teammates may not let him continue being the Forrest Gump of MLB. Life is like a box of chocolates and sometimes you get one tinged with scandal that must be addressed.

There’s a week now before the Dodgers’ regular season resumes. During that time, Ohtani’s past and present teams will play a three-game slate to fill the rest of spring training, which will only increase the number of reporters looking for his thoughts on all this. Ohtani and the Dodgers need to use the next week productively to get back in front of this story and present his narrative, assuming it’s true and unsullied.

It’s time for Shohei Ohtani to step out of the shadows. His idyllic Act I is over.


The Baltimore Orioles reassigned No. 1 prospect Jackson Holliday to minor-league camp, the club announced Friday.

Holliday went deep twice while recording six RBIs and a .954 OPS over 15 spring games. He also played solid defensively at second base.

The 20-year-old is widely considered baseball’s best prospect after the Orioles selected him with the first pick in the 2022 MLB Draft.

Baltimore also optioned outfielders Heston Kjerstad and Kyle Stowers.

Stowers, 26, hit a team-leading seven homers with 14 RBIs and a 1.011 OPS over 19 contests in the Grapefruit League.

“I’m bummed. I’m really, really bummed,” Stowers said, according to Danielle Allentuck of the Baltimore Banner.

The 25-year-old Kjerstad, who was the No. 2 overall pick in 2020, had three RBIs with a .580 OPS in 18 spring games.


Marlins right-hander Eury Perez will start the season on the injured list with elbow inflammation, the Miami Herald reported Friday.

Tests reportedly found no structural damage in his pitching elbow, but the 20-year-old starter will not be with the club to open the season next week.

Perez made his major league debut in 2023 and finished 5-6 with a 3.15 ERA in 19 starts. He struck out 108 batters and walked 31 in 91 1/3 innings of work.

His minor league numbers since 2021 include a 9-9 record with a 3.01 ERA and a 0.997 WHIP in 46 starts.


Oakland A’s right-hander Trevor Gott will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the entire season and part of 2025, reported Friday.

Gott has a fully torn UCL in his throwing elbow, per the report.

Gott, 31, signed a one-year deal worth $1.5 million with the A’s in December.

He went 0-5 with a 4.19 ERA in 64 relief appearances with Seattle and the New York Mets in 2023. The Mets acquired Gott from the Mariners in July.

Gott is 16-15 with a 4.65 ERA in 255 career relief appearances with six teams.


The Arizona Diamondbacks released veteran shortstop Elvis Andrus on Friday amid a flurry of moves.

Andrus, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks earlier this month. He batted .118 in six spring training games.

The D-backs also optioned infielder/outfielder Pavin Smith and left-hander Andrew Saalfrank to Triple-A Reno and reassigned LHP Jose Castillo to minor league camp.

Andrus is a two-time All-Star with 2,091 career hits over 15 major league seasons. He has been a shortstop most of his career but did play 63 games (60 starts) at second base last season for the Chicago White Sox.

The D-backs are opting to go with Emmanuel Rivera and utilityman Jace Peterson as infield backup options behind starting SS Geraldo Perdomo and 2B Ketel Marte.

Andrus has a .269 career average with 102 homers and 775 RBIs in 2,059 games with the Texas Rangers (2009-20), Oakland Athletics (2021-22) and the White Sox (2022-23). His 347 career steals lead all active major league players.

Smith, 28, hit .282 during the spring but just .188 in 69 games last season playing first base and right field.

Saalfrank, 26, appeared in 11 playoff games during Arizona’s run to the World Series last season, posting a 3.18 ERA. He appeared in three World Series games after making his major league debut in late September.


Ryan Vilade belted a two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning to cap a four-run comeback and deliver the Detroit Tigers a 4-3 win over the host Philadelphia Phillies in spring training action Friday in Clearwater, Fla.

Jake Rogers hit a solo shot off Gregory Soto (0-1) to lead off the inning. Andy Ibanez singled and Gio Urshela doubled him home to cut Detroit’s deficit to 3-2. Vilade followed with his home run to center on a 1-0 pitch, turning the tables before Soto could record an out.

Tigers reliever Tyler Holton (2-1) struck out four across the eighth and ninth innings. Starter Tarik Skubal fanned six, allowing one run, three hits and two walks over five innings.

Edmundo Sosa homered and Brandon Marsh had an RBI double and a run for the Phillies. Starter Zack Wheeler struck out five and yielded just one hit over 5 1/3 scoreless innings.

Yankees 5, Mets 3

Kevin Smith and Gleyber Torres combined for three RBIs in the sixth inning to push the host Yankees past the Mets in Tampa, Fla.

Down 3-2 after Francisco Lindor’s RBI sac fly, Smith hit a two-run double and Torres followed with a single to score Smith. Jose Trevino had two hits with an RBI for the Yankees and Will Warren (3-1) threw five innings of relief, allowing one run on three hits and two walks.

Mark Vientos hit his fifth homer of the spring, a two-run shot to put the Mets on the board first. Jeffrey Colon (0-1) was dinged for three runs on two hits and three walks over two innings of relief.

Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 1

Isiah Kiner-Falefa homered and Addison Barger hit a pair of RBI doubles as host Toronto defeated Boston in Dunedin, Fla.

Mitch White (3-0) started for the Jays and struck out six over 5 2/3 innings, giving up the only Boston run on two hits and one walk.

Enmanuel Valdez had a solo shot off White for the only Red Sox run. Starter Justin Hagenman (1-1) gave up three runs on two hits and two walks in two innings.

Braves-Twins, canceled

The game between Atlanta and host Minnesota in Fort Myers, Fla., was canceled due to inclement weather.

Twins-Rays, canceled

The game between Minnesota and host Tampa Bay in Port Charlotte, Fla., was canceled due to inclement weather.

Nationals-Astros, canceled

The game between Washington and host Houston in Palm Beach, Fla., was canceled due to inclement weather.

Cardinals-Marlins, canceled

The game between St. Louis and host Miami in Jupiter, Fla., was canceled due to inclement weather.