Otani drafted in Japan, can't sign in Majors until April

Otani drafted in Japan, can't sign in Majors until April

Otani drafted in Japan, can't sign in Majors until April
Japanese high school right-hander Shohei Otani, who has made his plans of coming to the Major Leagues known, was chosen in the first round of the Japanese baseball amateur draft on Thursday, the Associated Press reported.

Otani, 18, was chosen by the Nippon Ham Fighters, the club that also had Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish. By being drafted by Nippon Ham, Otani cannot sign with a Major League club until April 2013. The Fighters have until March to sign Otani, who said he still plans to play in the U.S.

"My feelings haven't changed," Otani told the AP. "I'm grateful that they appreciate me, but it doesn't change my desire to play in America."

The 6-foot-4 Otani has had his fastball clocked from 99-100 mph, and has been scouted by several Major League teams.

Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.