The bond between Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani and his once inseparable interpreter goes back to their years at the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan.

But the two tall men may not talk to each other ever again, following allegations Ippei Mizuhara stole money from Ohtani's account to pay a bookmaker under federal investigation.

Ohtani and Mizuhara joined up at the Hokkaido-based Fighters in 2013, Ohtani as a two-way rookie out of high school, Mizuhara as an interpreter for the team's English-speaking players.

File photo shows Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (C) posing for photos with former teammate Shohei Ohtani (R) and the Los Angeles Dodgers two-way player's interpreter Ippei Mizuhara in Glendale, Arizona, on March 5, 2024. (Kyodo)

They moved in 2018 to the Los Angeles Angels, based in southern California, where Mizuhara grew up.

Since then, they looked like a perfect combination to baseball fans as Ohtani grew from a national hero to an international superstar with the support of Mizuhara, who was familiar to fans as Ohtani's constant companion.

Los Angeles Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani (bottom R) takes part in the Home Run Derby in Denver on July 12, 2021, on the eve of the MLB All-Star Game, with his interpreter Ippei Mizuhara (top L, wearing a chest protector) serving as catcher. (Kyodo)

Mizuhara not only interpreted Ohtani's words in English but performed numerous other duties such as going over data regarding opposing players on the bench, assisting him in training and performing various tasks outside of baseball.

"Ippei took care of me so well, and we've been always together," Ohtani said at a press conference in Tokyo after winning his first American League MVP Award in 2021.

According to ESPN, Mizuhara met southern California bookmaker Mathew Bowyer at a San Diego poker game in 2021 and started betting with him on credit later that year.

Mizuhara estimated his losses mounted to more than $1 million by the end of 2022 and ballooned from there, the sports network said, adding that the total amount of wire transfers from Ohtani's account had reached at least $4.5 million.

Reports by ESPN and the Los Angeles Times stunned the baseball world and people in Japan, where TV programs have spent a fair amount of time discussing whether or not the gambling scandal will affect Ohtani's performance in his first season with the Dodgers.

The whole nation of Japan hopes to see Ohtani win the World Series after failing to even reach the postseason in his six seasons with the Angels.

On Monday, Ohtani spoke to the media for the first time since the allegations against the interpreter surfaced last week and Mizuhara was fired by the Dodgers during the team's season-opening trip to South Korea.

Shohei Ohtani (R) of the Los Angeles Dodgers attends the annual DodgerFest fan event with his interpreter Ippei Mizuhara in Los Angeles on Feb. 3, 2024. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

"I'm very saddened and shocked someone whom I trusted has done this," said Ohtani, who signed a record $700 million, 10-year contract with the Dodgers in the offseason. "I never bet on sports...He stole money from my account and has been telling lies."

Without taking questions from reporters, Ohtani quickly read a statement in Japanese from a prepared document, and his new interpreter Will Ireton translated.

Thus, how Mizuhara sent money to the bookmaking operation from Ohtani's account remains unanswered, casting doubt on the pitcher-slugger's financial risk management.

Los Angeles Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani (C) gives a postgame interview alongside his interpreter Ippei Mizuhara (L) on Sept. 17, 2022, at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. (Kyodo)

The gambling allegations have also hurt his "perfect" image.

Mizuhara told ESPN he had been paid between $300,000 and $500,000 annually while working as Ohtani's interpreter for the Angels and the Dodgers.

In what could add credibility to Ohtani's claims about the interpreter's lies, NBC Sports has said that some reports stated Mizuhara graduated from the University of California, Riverside. A university spokesperson, however, told the outlet there are no records of him attending the school.

"Shohei was very honest in his take of what happened," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after Ohtani's press conference. "I know that for me, the organization, we support him."

"I got a lot of questions answered as far as what he knew, what he didn't know, and I'm looking forward to kind of just moving forward, letting the authorities take care of it, and just focus on baseball. I was proud of him to sit up here and give his take on things."

All photos that contain Mizuhara have since been deleted from Ohtani's Instagram account, including one the two took with their wives before getting on a Seoul-bound plane.

It was Ohtani's first shared photo with his wife after he made his surprise marriage announcement at the end of February.

Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Dodgers arrives at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on March 24, 2024, for a spring training game against the Los Angeles Angels. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Until last week, Mizuhara was seemingly always at Ohtani's side, but while Ohtani is back at work, it is anybody's guess how the interpreter is now spending his time.

No wonder many are asking whether Ohtani can have yet another MVP-caliber season without his sidekick in tow.

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