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Shohei Otani News and Notes: December 11, 2012

by on Dec.11, 2012 @ 5:01 pm, under NPB

[If you are looking for more Otani information, be sure to check the Shohei Otani tag]

Shohei Otani updates from December 10:

Nikkan Sports

Ichi-gun pitching coach Tomohiro Kuroki on Otani:

"[Otani] has a good head on his shoulders and is a quick thinker.  He knows how to communicate his thoughts.  He seems to be smart.  I think he has the ability to take in the good and push away the bad. ... I think we need to help support him as he aims for the top.  I want to help him in any way that I can."

Source: Nikkan Sports 12/11/2012

The Fighters meeting with Hanamaki Higashi High School officials on Monday lasted about an hour.  They informed Nippon Ham that they received critical phone calls from a number of people after Otani decided to change his mind.  The Fighters apologized and once again explained their why they decided to select him during the draft.  The high school is expected to respect/support his Otani's decision.

Source: Nikkan Sports 12/11/2012

The Fighters are planning to hold a press conference for Otani on Christmas Day at a hotel in Sapporo.

Source: Nikkan Sports 12/11/2012


The Fighters meeting with Hanamaki school officials began at 9:10am and lasted about sixty-five minutes.  The team learned that the high school has been getting a lot of phone calls since the day they selected Otani during the draft on October 25.  Reactions have been mixed, and not all have been critical, but there were times when school staff were forced to sit through calls that lasted over thirty minutes.

Said Hideki Kuriyama, "We have put [Hanamaki Higashi] in a very difficult situation.  I had an idea of what might be happening, but I am shocked.  We really put them in a tough spot.  I am very sorry for what has happened.  I want Nippon Ham to handle this properly.  I do not want to inconvenience the school any more."

Hanamaki manager Hiroshi Sasaki on Otani:

"I watched the press conference on TV and was relieved when he shook Kuriyama's hand and smiled.  I want to support his decision. ... His velocity improved after he hurt his left hip during his second year, but he could not become a winning pitcher.  I would like to see him become a winning pitcher."

Source: Sanspo 12/11/2012


Hanamaki manager Sasaki on Otani:

"I will be happy if he can grow with Nippon Ham and become a legitimate pitcher in Japan before heading to America. ... I thought it best [for him to announce his intentions] before the draft, but I may have rushed his decision by doing that.  I feel badly for inconveniencing so many people."

Source: Sponichi 12/11/2012

Hanshin Tigers president Nobuo Minami on the Fighters managing to sign Otani:

"This was good for Japanese baseball. ... [Nippon Ham] did a good job.  I think it is impressive what they accomplished. ... US scouts can approach players before Japanese scouts can.  That allows them to get closer.  Some active [Japanese] scouts are questioning whether that is fair."

Source: Sponichi 12/11/2012

Nippon Ham Fighter Shinya Tsuruoka on Otani:

"I would like him to do his best and not get beaten by the negative criticisms.  [Otani] has been given the chance to wear a uniform and stand on the field, all that remains is whether he can put up results. ... He has not won a game at the professional level yet, so making comparison [at this point] would be rude to Darvish."

Source: Sponichi 12/11/2012

The documents the Fighters prepared about the risks of going overseas will be released to members of the media.

Source: Sponichi 12/11/2012