Shohei Ohtani plays in Dodgers’ loss to Angels after addressing gambling and theft allegations against former interpreter

Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani went hitless for a second straight game as the Los Angeles Dodgers fell to the Los Angeles Angels 6-0 on Monday at Dodger Stadium.

Playing in the team’s second Freeway Series exhibition game since returning from South Korea, Ohtani went 0-for-2, grounding out twice and drawing a walk in the loss against his former club.

Before the game, the two-time MVP spoke publicly for the first time since gambling and theft allegations against his former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, came to light last week.

The 29-year-old Ohtani adamantly denied betting on any sport or paying a bookie and placed the blame for the improprieties solely on his former interpreter, who he alleged was stealing money from his account.

“I’m very saddened and shocked that someone who I’ve trusted has done this,” said Ohtani, whose statement was translated to English by Dodgers employee Will Ireton.

CNN has sought comment from Mizuhara. Mizuhara told ESPN last Tuesday, “I never bet on baseball … That’s 100 percent. I knew that rule … We have a meeting about that in spring training.”

Ohtani, who typically shies away from media interviews, also noted he was limited in what he could say, acknowledging the ongoing federal and league investigations.

Ohtani prepares to bat against the Los Angeles Angels on Monday. - Jae C. Hong/AP
Ohtani prepares to bat against the Los Angeles Angels on Monday. - Jae C. Hong/AP

“I never bet on baseball or any other sports or never have asked somebody to do it on my behalf and I have never gone through a bookmaker to bet on sports,” he added.

The Internal Revenue Service and Major League Baseball are investigating the matter, with the league trying to determine whether its strict rules against gambling have been broken.

A player or employee who gambles on baseball can be suspended for a year, while someone who gambles on a game they are in some way a part of can be suspended for life. MLB’s commissioner can also penalize someone who goes outside legal sports betting entities and gambles with a bookie.

ESPN’s Tisha Thompson, citing multiple unnamed sources, said on CNN’s “The Lead” last week that at least $4.5 million was withdrawn via wire transfer from Ohtani’s bank accounts, though it is unclear who initiated the transfers.

Ohtani’s attorneys have not detailed how they believe the funds were stolen, fueling questions about the scandal that emerged.

Ohtani signed an unparalleled 10-year, $700 million deal with the Dodgers this offseason after winning the American League MVP award twice over the past three seasons as a pitcher and designated hitter with the Angels.

The Dodgers will close out the three-game exhibition against the Angels on Tuesday.

Raja Razek, Steve Almasy, Dalia Faheid and Elizabeth Wolfe contributed to reporting.

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