Dodgers’ Shohei Ohtani to speak on ex-interpreter’s gambling allegations Monday

Shohei Ohtani will speak with reporters regarding ex-interpreter Ippei Mizuhara allegedly stealing $4.5 million from him to cover gambling debts on Monday. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers superstar told reporters on Sunday before the team’s exhibition game against the Los Angeles Angels, his former squad, that he would address the situation on Monday. The Dodgers later confirmed to The Times that would be the plan. 

Ohtani is wrapped up in the league’s biggest scandal prior to Opening Day later this week, as his attorneys redacted Mizuhara’s initial statement to ESPN, in which he said Ohtani was covering the debts as a friend, and instead called the two-way star a victim of a “massive theft.”

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Ohtani’s manager, Dave Roberts, agrees with the decision to speak on the matter. 

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Roberts said, via The Times. “I’m happy he’s going to speak, speak to what he knows and give his thoughts on the whole situation. I think it’ll give us a little bit more clarity.”

There are many questions for Ohtani to answer on the matter – how did he not notice $4.5 million being stolen until now? – and there is speculation to debunk, including some opining that he was involved somehow in the situation. 

SHOHEI OHTANI’S EX-INTERPRETER’S PAST COMES INTO QUESTION AS RED SOX, UNIVERSITY REFUTE CONNECTION: REPORTS

The reason for the speculation stems from one of Ohtani’s spokespeople setting ESPN up with a Mizuhara interview this past Tuesday, in which he spoke for 90 minutes about the situation, claiming that Ohtani was paying off his debts for him knowingly. Ohtani’s spokeperson initially confirmed that was the case, but then it was recanted by them and Mizuhara alike, saying Ohtani was a victim instead. 

Mizuhara admitted in the interview that he gambled on international soccer, the NBA and the NFL, though he never bet on MLB games

Mystery surrounds Mizuhara, as multiple outlets have dug deep into his past and found discrepancies, including his Angels’ bio (he worked with Ohtani from 2018-23 with the team) saying he attended the University of California-Riverside in 2007 and worked with the Boston Red Sox as Hideki Okajima’s interpreter in 2010. 

UC Riverside told The Athletic that there is no record of him in their system whatsoever, and the Red Sox released a statement to multiple outlets saying that Mizuhara had never worked as Okajima’s interpreter with them. 

The Dodgers released a statement following the report of the matter, saying they were “gathering information” and confirming that Mizuhara no longer worked for the team. 

Ohtani remains on the Dodgers’ roster heading into Opening Day, while MLB and the IRS are set to open investigations into the matter. 

The Dodgers’ 2024 season is scheduled to kick off Thursday at home against the St. Louis Cardinals. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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