[If you are looking for more Otani information, be sure to check the Shohei Otani tag]
Updates on Shohei Otani from October 26:
About twelve TV cameras and around seventy media personnel covered the Otani's press conference on Thursday. He started workouts at around 4:00pm. At around 5:00pm, when the draft started, he stepped out onto the field to play catch with teammates. He did not want to watch the draft on TV because he did not want to get caught up in it. When he returned to the team room, a school official informed him that he was selected by Nippon Ham. During his press conference, he repeatedly referred to his decision to play in the US. The Fighters have negotiating rights with Otani until the end of March next year. The exclusivity window only pertains to the teams in Japan -- there are no written rules about teams overseas. Source: Sanspo 10/26/2012
Nippon Ham manager Hideki Kuriyama is prepared to visit Hanamaki Higashi as many times as needed. When he spoke to reporters on Thursday, he once again apologized to Otani for selecting him. GM Masao Yamada and scouting director Takashi Ofuchi will visit Hanamaki Higashi today at 5:00pm. Source: Sanspo 10/26/2012
Hanamaki Higashi manager Hiroshi Sasaki was not expecting the Fighters to select Otani. Since this is a first, he also wants to consult with others about what steps should be taken. He again said he wanted to respect Otani's wishes. Source: Sanspo 10/26/2012
The Fighters scouting director Ofuchi is heading to today's meeting most likely to show Otani just how important he is to the team. In most cases, it is usually the GM plus the scout that was in charge of keeping track the draft pick. Source: Nikkan Sports 10/26/2012
Otani: "In my personal opinion, there is zero chance [I will sign with Nippon Ham]. I decided I wanted to do my best over there. Right now, I only have thoughts of playing in America."
Hanamaki Higashi has also reportedly received calls from people about how Otani is looking at Japanese baseball too lightly and that he is being conceited.
Source: Sports Hochi 10/26/2012
Nikkan Sports has posted the Q&A from his press conferece on Thursday:
Are you happy or nervous? Which feeling is stronger?
I feel bad I could not make an announcement about my decision sooner. That Nippon Ham still selected me does make me happy, but I also feel a little unsettled. That is all I can say.
You said you [did not watch the draft] because you did not want to get caught up in it. Is that because you thought it might move you?
Not really moved. It is just the result of my decision. I just wanted to move down the path I selected.
Is there anything you are doing to prepare yourself for the Majors?
I cannot do anything until the draft ends. I also think there is a gentlemen's agreement. My [high school] manager is looking into that right now. I am not really sure how things will go moving forward.
You will not be able to play in the NPB for three years after you return to Japan.
If I go then I feel I should do my best over there. If I think about returning [from the start] then I will not be able to do anything.
Are you not thinking about returning to Japan?
If I go, I think that is what I need to do. I made that decision when I made my announcement.
Source: Nikkan Sports 10/26/2012
UPDATE @ 6:33pm -
The Fighters made their visit today. Since Otani did not attend the meeting, the Fighters explained their reasons for the selection to his high school manager. Source: Sports Hochi 10/26/2012
UPDATE @ 7:20pm -
The Fighters arrived at Hanamaki Higashi at 5:15pm and met with manager Sasaki for about twenty minutes.
GM Yamada: "We asked him Sasaki how badly Otani wants to play in the US and why that came to be. Seems Yusei Kikuchi played a big role."
Source: Nikkan Sports 10/26/2012
UPDATE @ 8:12pm -
The Fighters would like a chance to sit down with Otani and his parents to talk about how they worked with Yu Darvish before he was posted. They will also make Hideki Kuriyama available as soon as the Nippon Series is over. Source: Daily Sports 10/26/2012
Yusei Kikuchi spoke to reporters and chipped in his two cents: "Both sides have good things and neither would be a wrong choice. [Otani] should take his time to think about it. ... Personally, I feel good I picked Japan. There were times I could not win a game and I still need a lot of polish. I also got to meet a lot players I can respect." Source: Sponichi 10/26/2012