Yoshinobu Yamamoto is expected to make the first Major League Baseball start of his career in South Korea in March, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Tuesday.

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts meets the media in Glendale, Arizona, on Feb. 20, 2024. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Speaking to reporters at the team's Camelback Ranch spring training facility outside Phoenix, Roberts said he believed Yamamoto was on track to start one of the Dodgers' two season-opening games in Seoul on March 20 and 21.

"I think that's a safe bet," Roberts said. "It's fair to say that that's our hope, but I'm not beholden to that if it doesn't make sense."

The 25-year-old Yamamoto played seven seasons in Japan's major leagues, and has won the last three Sawamura Awards as the most impressive pro starting pitcher in his homeland.

He joined the Dodgers on a 12-year, $325 million deal, the most valuable ever given in MLB to a pitcher.

Roberts said Tyler Glasnow was "another safe bet" to start one of the two games in Seoul against the San Diego Padres, but added that this year's schedule presents challenges.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches live batting practice at spring training in Glendale, Arizona, on Feb. 17, 2024. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

After playing in South Korea, the teams travel back to the United States for some final exhibition games and their March 28 domestic openers.

"This is a unique ramp-up for everyone," Roberts said. "The entirety of the season and making sure these guys are ready to take down the start (in Seoul), that's most important."

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