Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani hits longest home run at Oracle Park in nearly two years

Shohei Ohtani really wanted a splash hit into San Francisco’s McCovey Cove, and he came oh so close Tuesday night.

Ohtani’s 446-foot drive for the Dodgers during a 10-2 win against the Giants landed above the brick facade in right-center for the longest home run at Oracle Park in nearly two years — since Christian Walker connected for a 461-foot drive against Alex Cobb on Aug. 15, 2022.

“You don’t see many guys hitting the ball (to) that part of the ballpark that far. Fortunately I played with one here,” manager Dave Roberts said of home run king Barry Bonds. “That was pretty impressive. … That’s Barry territory.”

Ohtani acknowledged afterward that he is finally sleeping better again. He had struggled to get proper rest amid his former interpreter’s gambling scandal this spring — and he certainly appears refreshed at the moment.

“Initially I really didn’t have much sleep obviously with the things that were happening but now I’ve been able to really have a pretty consistent routine, been able to sleep well, so I think those are leading to good results,” Ohtani said through Will Ireton, his new interpreter.

When asked how he has been able to get better sleep, Ohtani added: “I think really as the incidents progressed and I was basically doing what I can to show that I’m fine, and as the incidents were progressing and the investigation was going on and I was starting to not be involved any more, that’s when I was able to really focus on my sleep and being able to sleep better.”

Earlier in the day, ex-interpreter Ippei Mizuhara pleaded not guilty to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he has negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. Prosecutors say he stole nearly $17 million from Ohtani to pay off sports gambling debts during a yearslong scheme.

Ohtani’s 12th homer leading off the fourth inning had an exit velocity of 113.4 mph, the hardest-hit ball at Oracle this year and the seventh-hardest ever since the beginning of the Statcast era in 2015.

“I thought it went in the water at first,” Dodgers pitcher Gavin Stone said. “That was sick.”

The 29-year-old Ohtani, who had three hits and two RBIs, has watched plenty of Bonds’ homers land in the water beyond the right-field wall, and the Japanese star might have reached the cove had he pulled the ball.

“I thought I hit one today,” he said, “but I was disappointed it didn’t go over.”

Signed to a $700 million, 10-year contract, he will have another decade to keep trying.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

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