Shohei Ohtani given hero’s welcome on his return to the Angels: $700m Dodgers star treated to tribute video and standing ovation as he comes up to bat… a day after breaking his silence on MLB gambling probe

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Written By Maya Cantina

The Los Angeles Angels rolled out the red carpet for Shohei Ohtani on his return to Angel Stadium on Tuesday night.

The Japanese star recently moved across the city in a record $700million deal following half a decade with the Angels, where he was twice named AL MVP.

In recent days, Ohtani has been in the headlines over a bombshell MLB investigation, after his friend and interpreter Ippei Mizuhara was fired amid a gambling probe.

Earlier this week, the two-way star broke his silence, insisting he has never bet on sports and accusing Mizuhara of lying and stealing money. 

On Tuesday, Ohtani had the chance to let his baseball do the talking once more. 

The Japanese player bows to supporters

Shohei Ohtani was given a hero’s welcome on his return to Angel Stadium on Tuesday night

Highlights from Ohtani's MVP season were shown on the screen as he came up to bat

Highlights from Ohtani’s MVP season were shown on the screen as he came up to bat 

He spent half a decade with the Angels before joining the Dodgers in a $700million deal

He spent half a decade with the Angels before joining the Dodgers in a $700million deal

Ohtani was greeted with a standing ovation from supporters on his return with the Dodgers

Ohtani was greeted with a standing ovation from supporters on his return with the Dodgers

As the Japanese star came up to bat at the top of the first inning, however, a video began playing on the stadium jumbotron. It showed highlights from Ohtani’s 2023 MVP season.

Supporters began to cheer and clap as the video paid tribute to the two-way star, with the announcers’ commentary blaring out over the stadium speakers.

Ohtani stepped into the batter’s box and got into the stance while the video was still playing. But he was soon forced to step away – with an almost embarrassed look on his face. 

‘I think Shohei forgot he’s a big deal around here,’ the announcer said. ‘We have to get a little love here for Shohei Ohtani (given) what he did wearing that uniform.’

Ohtani even apologized to the Angels pitcher over the delay before breaking into a smile and acknowledging the crowd. 

The $700m star removed his helmet and saluted the Angels fans who rose to pay tribute to baseball’s richest star. Ohtani responded with a bow. 

Ohtani greets former teammate Brandon Drury during Tuesday's exhibition game

Ohtani greets former teammate Brandon Drury during Tuesday’s exhibition game

The Japanese two-way star salutes the fans, who rose to welcome him back to Angel Stadium

The Japanese two-way star salutes the fans, who rose to welcome him back to Angel Stadium 

It came a day after Ohtani broke his silence on the MLB's bombshell gambling probe

It came a day after Ohtani broke his silence on the MLB’s bombshell gambling probe

The Angels won Tuesday’s exhibition 4-3, with Ohtani 0 for 2 at the plate. 

Ohtani’s lawyers say their client was victim of a ‘massive theft’ by Mizuhara after $4.5million in wire transfers were taken out of the Japanese slugger’s account to pay off alleged gambling debts.

The star said that he was ‘very saddened and shocked’ that Mizuhara did this, adding (through an interpreter), ‘I never bet on baseball or any other sports and never asked someone to do it on my behalf and never went through a bookmaker.’

‘In conclusion, Ippei has been stealing money from my account and has told lies,’ Ohtani said.

‘I never bet on baseball or any other sports, or never have asked somebody to do it on my behalf, and I have never went through a bookmaker to bet on sports.

‘Up until a couple of days ago, I didn’t even know that this was happening. Just to go over the result, in conclusion, Ippei has been stealing money from my account and has told lies.

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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