Los Angeles Dodgers two-way player Shohei Ohtani said Saturday he is "very confident" of being the team's designated hitter when they open the season on March 20 against the San Diego Padres in Seoul.

"We're right on schedule," Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara at a fan festival at Dodger Stadium. "As long as there are no setbacks going forward, I'll be ready."

In front of 35,000 fans, who paid $10 each to get in, the two-time American League MVP, who signed a $700 million, 10-year deal in December, said he has been hitting flips and off a tee. Admission to the DodgerFest event had been free until last year.

Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Dodgers attends the annual DodgerFest fan event in Los Angeles on Feb. 3, 2024. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Ohtani plans to hit off a machine in batting practice and resume playing catch during spring training in Arizona.

The Dodgers have made big additions to their rotation this offseason, signing Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Tyler Glasnow and James Paxton, as Ohtani will not be able to pitch in 2024 while recovering from a second right elbow surgery.

"The only choice is win the World Series," Ohtani said.

The Japanese star is expected to be in the top three of the batting order with Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, both former MVPs.

"It's just having a conversation with those guys, and I don't think we're going to nail it from the outset," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "It might happen, but I want Mookie, Freddie and Shohei to be part of the conversation."

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