"It's important to do my best" - Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani eager for upcoming WBC, eyes another national team call-up in 2026

Shohei Ohtani eyeing WBC 2026 selection
Shohei Ohtani eyeing WBC 2026 selection

Shohei Ohtani has started the new MLB season on another MVP-caliber note. The 10-year, $700 million contract-holder Dodgers star has been providing good performances for his new team regularly. Although his pitching is still not there, the two-way star has surely balanced that with his effortless hitting.

The Japanese star has played 53 games for the Dodgers this regular season and in his 211 at-bats, he has batted .336 along with an OPS of 1.024 and has hit 35 RBIs and 13 HRs.

Ohtani is now looking to add another World Baseball Classic title to his impressive resume. He previously helped Team Japan win the WBC in 2023. The three-time MLB All-Star is determined to play for Japan in the 2026 World Baseball Classic and is working hard to earn his place on the national team roster.

"It's important to do my best to stay among the top players first, in order to get picked," Ohtani said.

In the previous edition of the tournament, Ohtani was named the WBC MVP for his two-way prowess. He slashed .435/.606/.739 with one home run, 10 walks and four doubles. Ohtani also pitched 9.2 innings and had an ERA of 1.86, along with 11 strikeouts.

Although he currently isn't pitching due to the Tommy John surgery he had in the past, rumors are that he might just be back on the mound before long, as he was recently seen doing pitching practices and throwing the balls.

However, it's too early to speculate if he will take on the mound again or if he will be a full-time DH going forward. But Ohtani will surely be one of the lookouts in the upcoming WBC in 2026.

Shohei Ohtani says his mental state doesn't effect his game

Shohei Ohtani said that his game or performance isn't affected by his mental state. Since his team's trip to Seoul, Ohtani has been the subject of discussion. Ippei Mizuhara, his former translator, allegedly took almost $16 million from Ohtani's bank account to pay off his personal gambling debts.

Talking about how he faced those times and if his mental state affected his game, Ohtani said:

"I don't think my mental state affects my performance. I think I can get hits whatever mental state I'm in if I have established skills. I want to switch my focus when it comes to what I have to do on the field."

Even though some believe that Ohtani might, after all, be involved in this betting scandal, many also oppose this idea. Till now, no new evidence has come to light that could actually confirm his involvement in this scandal. MLB has decided to conduct its own investigation. It is to be seen how far it goes.

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