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[2/20/2015] Nippon Ham Fighters: Shohei Otani to get opening day start

by on Feb.20, 2015 @ 6:48 pm, under NPB

Hideki Kuriyama met Shohei Otani earlier today at around 10:00am. He handed the twenty-year-old a three-page letter and informed him that he was going to be the opening day starter. Kuriyama then waited until 11:11am (Otani's uniform number) to tell the media his decision.

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Nikkan Sports posted a portion of Otani's interaction with the media.

This will be your first opening day start.

It's the first game of the season, so I want to do what I can to win. The other team is going to start a pitcher that can win too. I'll be happy if I can pitch well enough to give the team a win.

Do you think getting your first opening day start in your third year is early or late?

I take things one year at a time. After last season, I wanted it. This is where it begins.

How are things going with your preparations?

I feel good. I'll work hard and I'll be ready for opening day.

What did you think about [Hideki] Kuriyama's letter?

I want to meet his expectations. Whether you can gain momentum is important. There were some other things that I got from [the letter] as well.

There will be more eyes on you.

I'm not really worried about what's going on around me. That doesn't change what I have to do.

Source: Nikkan Sports 2/20/2015

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Opening Day Starters

Date Starter Opponent Score Venue
2004/03/27 Kanemura, Satoru Kintetsu L, 2-6 Osaka Dome
2005/03/26 Mirabal, Carlos Softbank L, 1-3 Yahoo Dome
2006/03/25 Kanemura, Satoru Rakuten W, 3-1 Sapporo Dome
2007/03/24 Darvish, Yu Lotte T, 4-4 Chiba Marine
2008/03/20 Darvish, Yu Lotte W, 1-0 Sapporo Dome
2009/04/03 Darvish, Yu Rakuten L, 1-3 Sapporo Dome
2010/03/20 Darvish, Yu Softbank L, 3-5 Sapporo Dome
2011/04/12 Darvish, Yu Seibu L, 3-12 Sapporo Dome
2012/03/30 Saito, Yuki Seibu W, 9-1 Sapporo Dome
2013/03/29 Takeda, Masaru Seibu W, 5-3 Seibu Dome
2014/03/28 Yoshikawa, Mitsuo Orix W, 6-5 Sapporo Dome
2015/03/27 Otani, Shohei Rakuten   Sapporo Dome

Source: official announcement