Ohtani will face former Angels teammates in first regular season game since his free agency

DENVER – The day has come when Shohei Ohtani faces his former Angels team. If he’s excited or anxious about it, he’s keeping it to himself. More than likely, he just wants to get it over with.

Take it from Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who recalled that’s the way he felt whenever he went against a former club during his lengthy playing career.

“I think he’s worried about today and once tomorrow comes, tomorrow comes,” Roberts said Thursday ahead of the Dodgers series finale at Colorado. “I think that he is grateful for his time in Anaheim, grateful for the fans. And I think he just wants to help the Dodgers win, but I think he wants to get it over with.”

The Dodgers return home Friday to begin a two-game series against the Angels, where Ohtani emerged as a pitching and hitting superstar in six years with the team. He joined the Dodgers in the offseason, agreeing to a $700 million free-agent contract, though he won’t pitch this season while continuing to recover from an injured elbow ligament.

Ohtani acknowledged “looking forward” to playing them and added that he still follows the Angels “here and there” to keep up with what he called the regular news.

Speaking through an interpreter following Wednesday night’s game, Ohtani also said the vibe surrounding his upcoming appearance against the Angels doesn’t feel all that different from any other game he’s played or will play with his new team because it is not in Anaheim.

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“I believe more so when I go to Anaheim (it will be emotional for him),” Ohtani said. “But since we’re playing at Dodgers Stadium, I’m just going to be focused on playing the game.”

STARTING DILEMMA

The Dodgers have not yet announced a starter for Friday night’s game against the Angels. Roberts said the team is still weighing its options in coming up with a replacement for injured Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

“We are either going to do a bullpen game or do a spot start,” Roberts said. “I don’t know if there’s going to be somebody from Triple A.”

If they do opt to bring up a starter from the minors, Landan Knack is a possibility. He is 3-2 with a 3.54 ERA for Triple A Oklahoma City. Knack made four starts for the Dodgers early in the season, going 1-1 with a 2.61 ERA.

PAGES PROGRESS

Rookie center fielder Andy Pages has become a fixture in the Dodgers lineup in relatively short order.

Pages made his major league debut April 16 against Washington after being called up from Triple A Oklahoma City to fill in for Jason Heyward, who missed time with a back problem.

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Heading into Thursday’s game at Colorado, Pages was hitting .266, scoring 35 runs on 55 hits, including eight home runs and he has played exceptional defense.

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Roberts said he was surprised how quickly Pages has made adjustments.

“Yes. Pleasantly surprised, because it is not easy. He’s a very smart player. He lives and breathes baseball. He’s got a high baseball IQ. He’s not afraid to work. And he doesn’t run from big spots, where certain players do. He fought, he fought when he was scuffling (earlier). He continued to work, remained confident, fought in the batter’s box and competed. He’s got to the other side, so that shows me a lot,” said Roberts.

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