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.
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
Opening Day Starters
|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