Sports

Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani hits longest home run at Oracle Park in nearly two years

SAN FRANCISCO — (AP) — Shohei Ohtani really wanted a splash hit into San Francisco's McCovey Cove, and he came oh so close Tuesday night.

Ohtani's 446-foot drive for the Dodgers during a 10-2 win against the Giants landed above the brick facade in right-center for the longest home run at Oracle Park in nearly two years — since Christian Walker connected for a 461-foot drive against Alex Cobb on Aug. 15, 2022.

“You don't see many guys hitting the ball (to) that part of the ballpark that far. Fortunately I played with one here,” manager Dave Roberts said of home run king Barry Bonds. "That was pretty impressive. ... That's Barry territory."

Ohtani acknowledged afterward that he is finally sleeping better again. He had struggled to get proper rest amid his former interpreter's gambling scandal this spring — and he certainly appears refreshed at the moment.

“Initially I really didn't have much sleep obviously with the things that were happening but now I've been able to really have a pretty consistent routine, been able to sleep well, so I think those are leading to good results,” Ohtani said through Will Ireton, his new interpreter.

When asked how he has been able to get better sleep, Ohtani added: “I think really as the incidents progressed and I was basically doing what I can to show that I'm fine, and as the incidents were progressing and the investigation was going on and I was starting to not be involved any more, that's when I was able to really focus on my sleep and being able to sleep better.”

Earlier in the day, ex-interpreter Ippei Mizuhara pleaded not guilty to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he has negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. Prosecutors say he stole nearly $17 million from Ohtani to pay off sports gambling debts during a yearslong scheme.

Ohtani's 12th homer leading off the fourth inning had an exit velocity of 113.4 mph, the hardest-hit ball at Oracle this year and the seventh-hardest ever since the beginning of the Statcast era in 2015.

“I thought it went in the water at first,” Dodgers pitcher Gavin Stone said. “That was sick.”

The 29-year-old Ohtani, who had three hits and two RBIs, has watched plenty of Bonds' homers land in the water beyond the right-field wall, and the Japanese star might have reached the cove had he pulled the ball.

“I thought I hit one today," he said, “but I was disappointed it didn't go over.”

Signed to a $700 million, 10-year contract, he will have another decade to keep trying.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

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