Baseball Star Ōtani Announces Desire to Play in America


Tokyo, Nov. 11 (Jiji Press)—Japanese professional baseball star Ōtani Shōhei of the Hokkaidō Nippon Ham Fighters officially announced his desire on Saturday to move to the US Major Leagues using the posting system.

Ōtani Shōhei pitches against the Orix Buffaloes at Sapporo Dome on October 4, 2017. (© Jiji)

"I've conveyed my thoughts to the club and gained permission," the 23-year-old pitcher-batter said at a news conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo. "I hope to play in the United States from next year."

At a meeting on Friday with Fighters manager Kuriyama Hideki and the club's president, Takeda Kensō, Ōtani expressed his intention to play in the United States, and the club confirmed that it will allow him to move to the Major Leagues under the posting system.

Ōtani joined the Fighters, a team in the Pacific League, in 2013 after graduating from Hanamaki Higashi high school in Iwate Prefecture. He has excelled as both a right-handed pitcher and a left-handed batter.

The club, based in Sapporo, Hokkaidō, approved Ōtani's possible move to the Major Leagues during negotiations on contract renewal after the 2016 season.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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