{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Japanese phenom Otani to stay in Japan

Japanese phenom Otani to stay in Japan

|
Japanese phenom Otani to stay in Japan
Japanese pitcher Shohei Otani might sign with a Major League team at some point, but it won't happen this year. The 18-year-old right-hander announced on Sunday that he will start his professional career with Japan's Nippon Ham Fighters.

At 6-foot-4 and with a fastball nearing 100 mph, Otani had garnered serious interest from MLB clubs, including the Dodgers. A source told the Los Angeles Times on Dec. 3 that the Dodgers would be "shocked" if Otani signed with another organization -- if he left Japan, that is.

Otani originally expressed strong interest in taking his career to the U.S., but Nippon still selected him in the first round of the Japanese amateur draft in October. The club had until March to sign Otani, who would have needed to wait until April to ink a deal with an MLB organization.

Despite his deal with the Fighters, Otani said Sunday he still plans on a Major League future.

"I would eventually like to go to the Major Leagues," he told nikkansports.com, in comments translated by the Los Angeles Times. "It's a place I admire. I would like the Fighters to teach me the road to get there."

Andrew Simon is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{}
{}
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español