The Nippon Ham Fighters are selling a life-size figure of Shohei Otani at their official team store, On-Deck. The figure is part of a grand re-opening sale. There is only one figure and it carries a price tag of 1,111,111 yen (based on Otani’s uniform number 11).
Source: Nikkan Sports 9/19/2017
[UPDATE 9/20 @ 9:51pm]
A Sapporo man in his sixties purchased the figure today before 6:00pm. He paid in cash. He plans to put it on display at his company.5 Comments
The media learned on September 13 that Shohei Otani is expected to have surgery on his right ankle before the end of the year. The ankle will most likely require a month to three months for a full recovery. If he has the procedure in October, he might be ready to resume workouts in January. As mentioned elsewhere, the media also learned that there is a good chance he will ask the Nippon Ham Fighters to post him to the Majors during the upcoming off-season.
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Shohei Otani started tonight’s game against the Rakuten Eagles at Sapporo Dome and topped out at 163km/h. The pitch came in the second inning against Eigoro Mogi with runners on first and second and one out.0 Comments
Shohei Otani was hit by a pitch near his left ankle during his at bat in the ninth inning of a game against the Seibu Lions at MetLife Dome on September 8. He was able to get to first on his own, but was replaced by a pinch-runner as a precaution. The HBP was the third of his career.
Source: Sports Hochi 9/8/20170 Comments
Otani’s next start could come on September 12 against Rakuten at Sapporo Dome.
And the Red Sox are apparently open to using Otani as a two-way player.
[UPDATE 9/7 @ 11:44am]
Otani is expected to get another start on September 12 against Rakuten if he has no problems after throwing a bullpen session today. He will most likely be limited to about eighty pitches, up from sixty during his last start.
In other news, Rays Senior Vice President Chaim Bloom and General Manager Erik Neander will apparently be in Japan to watch Otani.
[UPDATE 9/8 @ 1:56am]
Otani hit the big screen at Tokyo Dome during pre-game batting practice on September 7. He also threw thirty-two pitches in the bullpen in preparation for his next start on September 12.
Scouts from over ten MLB teams, including the Brewers, Indians, Cubs, Athletics, Diamondbacks, and Rays, were at the game.
[UPDATE 9/9 @ 5:17pm]
Scouts from eleven teams, including the Dodgers, Cubs, and Red Sox, were at the game on September 8.
[UPDATE 9/10 @ 10:48pm]
Otani threw thirty pitches in the bullpen during pre-game practices today. He is still slated to get a start on September 12 against Rakuten at Sapporo Dome.
[UPDATE 9/12 @ 3:13pm]
About thirty scouts from fifteen teams are expected to show up at tonight’s game against Rakuten at Sapporo Dome.
Otani is slated to have a pitch limit of about eighty.
[UPDATE 9/13 @ 6:32am]
Thirty-two scouts from sixteen teams were at the game on September 12.
[UPDATE 9/13 @ 7:16am]
According to a report Sponichi posted this morning, Otani may have more or less decided that he wants to be posted to the Majors after the season.
Source: Sponichi 9/13/2017
[UPDATE 9/13 @ 3:18pm]
Daily Sports and Sanspo are now also carrying similar reports about Otani wanting to be posted after the season. The Fighters and Otani are expected to meet in Iwate after the season for formal discussions.
[UPDATE 9/16 @ 4:37pm]
Otani will most likely get two to three more starts this year. He might get to hit for himself when he makes his last appearance of the year. Hideki Kuriyama left the door open by saying it was not a zero percent chance.
Otani’s next start could come on September 21 against Softbank at Sapporo Dome. He might be allowed to throw about 110 pitches.
[UPDATE 9/17 @ 10:11pm]
Otani threw thirty-two pitches in the bullpen during pre-game practices today.
Added actual pitch count on 9/18 @ 4:01pm.
[UPDATE 9/19 @ 6:18pm]
Otani tossed another bullpen session today (about thirty pitches). His next start will most likely come on September 21 against Softbank at Sapporo Dome. His pitch count will be around 100 pitches.
[UPDATE 9/21 @ 10:37pm]
Twenty-seven officials/scouts from seventeen MLB teams, including the Giants, Rays, Red Sox, Tigers, Phillies, and Twins, were at the game.
Otani topped out at 162km/h. Of the 108 pitches he threw during the game, eight were at or over 160km/h.
[UPDATE 9/23 @ 1:34am]
The seventeen teams at the game on September 21: Giants, Yankees, Red Sox, Twins, Athletics, Diamondbacks, Angels, Rangers, Rays, Indians, Dodgers, Blue Jays, Phillies, Pirates, Mariners, White Sox, and Tigers.
Every team in the MLB, other than the Marlins and Rockies, have had someone check on Otani this year.
[UPDATE 9/23 @ 10:41pm]
Otani’s next start is up in the air. Kuriyama was not impressed with his last start on September 21 and is planning to wait-and-see approach.
Source: Daily Sports 9/23/2017
Otani threw forty baseballs into a net off an incline today. He is scheduled to toss a bullpen session some time this week, assuming no physical issues.
[UPDATE 8/2 @ 3:47pm]
Otani could toss a bullpen session on either August 5 or 6.
[UPDATE 8/5 @ 1:25pm]
Otani might not get another start until a two-game series against Lotte at Sapporo Dome that begins on August 16. The Fighters want him to toss at least two bullpen sessions before they give him the green light.
Source: Daily Sports 8/5/2017
[UPDATE 8/5 @ 11:55pm]
Otani tossed a bullpen session today. It was his first session since July 19.
Source: Sponichi 8/5/2017
[UPDATE 8/6 @ 5:38pm]
Otani threw ten pitches to a standing catcher in the bullpen on August 5.
Source: Sports Hochi 8/6/2017
[UPDATE 8/9 @ 4:25pm]
Otani tossed a bullpen session on August 8. He threw twenty pitches in a net and then twenty pitches to a standing catcher.
Source: Nikkan Sports 8/9/2017
[UPDATE 8/15 @ 8:25am]
Scouts from the Dodgers, Red Sox, Padres, and Rangers were spotted at the Softbank game on August 14.
Source: Sports Hochi 8/15/2017
[UPDATE 8/16 @ 10:17pm]
Otani threw fifty-two pitches in the bullpen during pre-game practices today. He threw twenty to a standing catcher and thirty-two to a squatting catcher at ninety to one-hundred percent. He is still probably at least ten days away from being ready to pitch in a game.
[UPDATE 8/18 @ 2:30am]
According to a report by Tokyo Sports, the Fighters are prepared to post Otani after the season. Otani, for his part, has started looking into a number agents.
Source: Tokyo Sports 8/17/2017
[UPDATE 8/19 @ 2:28pm]
Eight officials from the Dodgers, including Orel Hershiser, Andrew Friedman, David Finley, and Jon Deeble, were at the Seibu game at Sapporo Dome on August 18.
Source: Tokyo Sports 8/19/2017
[UPDATE 8/19 @ 3:11pm]
The Pirates, Rangers, and Astros were also spotted at the game on August 18.
[UPDATE 8/20 @ 5:33pm]
Otani threw fifty-eight pitches to a squatting catcher in the bullpen today.
[UPDATE 8/22 @ 4:15pm]
Otani could get a start on August 31 against Softbank at Sapporo Dome.
Source: Sports Hochi 8/22/2017
[UPDATE 8/23 @ 8:36pm]
Otani threw thirty-one pitches in the bullpen before tonight’s game against the Orix Buffaloes at Hotto Motto Kobe. A number of scouts from MLB teams sat in the stands and watched the session (the bullpen was on the third base side on foul territory).
Source: Nikkan Sports 8/23/2017
[UPDATE 8/25 @ 9:40pm]
Otani still seems to be on track to get a start on August 31 against Softbank at Sapporo Dome.
Source: Daily Sports 8/25/2017
[UPDATE 8/26 @ 10:44pm]
Otani threw about twenty pitches (including off-speed pitches) in the bullpen before tonight’s game against the Rakuten Eagles at Kobo Park Miyagi. Assuming no bumps in the road, he will toss one more bullpen session before a possible start on August 31 against Softbank at Sapporo Dome.
[UPDATE 8/27 @ 5:18pm]
Scouts from about eight MLB teams, including the Dodgers, Rangers and Blue Jays, were at the game on August 26.
[UPDATE 8/29 @ 4:53pm]
Hideki Kuriyama told reporters today that he is planning to give Otani the start on August 31 against Softbank. He could pitch three to five innings, or around sixty pitches. If everything goes well, he could get to pitch in two to three more games before the end of the season.
In other news, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman is apparently planning to watch the game, in person, on August 31.
[UPDATE 8/29 @ 9:00pm]
Otani threw twenty-four pitches in the bullpen today. Kuriyama made the decision to give Otani the start on August 31 after seeing the session. Kuriyama also confirmed that the pitcher is still slated to get the start on August 31 after today’s rain out.
[UPDATE 8/30 @ 12:58pm]
Over twenty scouts from about ten MLB teams might be at the game on August 31.
[UPDATE 8/31 @ 3:35pm]
Scouts from over fifteen MLB teams migh/t be at tonight’s game.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman and Assistant GM Jean Afterman visited the Yomiuri Giants on August 30. They are planning to attend tonight’s game.
[UPDATE 8/31 @ 9:36pm]
Otani topped 160km/h four times during his start tonight against the Softbank Hawks at Sapporo Dome. Twenty-two scouts/officials from fourteen teams were at the game.
Source: Sports Hochi 8/31/2017
[UPDATE 9/1 @ 2:35pm]
MLB teams included the Yankees (three members), Red Sox (two members), Blue Jays (three members), Rangers, and Dodgers.
The Fighters provided broadcast rights to TV stations (HBC, UHB, and HTB) in Sapporo for free.
Otani’s next start could come on eleven days of rest against Rakuten at Sapporo Dome on August 12.
Shohei Otani got the start against the Orix Buffaloes at Kyocera Dome tonight. It was his first Ichi-gun games since Game 1 of the Nippon Series last year.
Final line: 1.1 IP, 29 NP, 8 BF, 5 AB, 2 H, 2 SO, 3 BB, 4 R, 4 ER.0 Comments
Shohei Otani started a Ni-gun game against Seibu at Kamagaya earlier today. He allowed a run over an inning of work. He threw twenty-three pitches, gave up one hit, walked one, hit one, struck out two, and topped out at 157km/h (first pitch of the game).
Scouts from the Rangers, Astros, Rays, Mariners, and Athletics were at the game.
[UPDATE 7/5 @11:08am]
Otani threw about twenty pitches in the bullpen during pre-game workouts on July 4.
Source: Daily Sports 7/5/2017
[UPDATE 7/6 @1:05pm]
If the Fighters want to give Otani another outing as a pitcher before the All-Star break, it might come during an Ichi-gun game. The Ni-gun Fighters have only three games left on their schedule before the break: July 6 against Rakuten and July 10 and 11 against Yomiuri. All three games are at outdoor stadiums. It could make more sense to give Otani an outing at Ichi-gun (either as a starter or reliever) where all seven remaining games until the break are at domed stadiums (Sapporo Dome and Kyocera Dome).
Travel conditions might also be a factor. The Fighters will be in Hokkaido on July 9 and Osaka on July 10. The Ni-gun games against Yomiuri on July 10 and 11 will be taking place at Giants Stadium in Kawasaki, Kanagawa.
Sponichi thinks Otani might have a chance to pitch in relief during a Softbank three-game series that begins on July 7. Nikkan Sports believes he could get a start (most likely about two or three innings) during during an Orix three-game series that begins on July 10.
[UPDATE 7/6 @ 4:38pm]
Otani tossed batting practice at Sapporo Dome today. He faced Kenshi Sugiya and Yushi Shimizu. He threw fifty pitches (including curveballs and sliders) and allowed zero could-be hits. Twenty-five missed the strike zone.
[UPDATE 7/7 @ 10:53pm]
According to Nikkan Sports, Otani could get a start against Orix at Kyocera Dome on June 12. Sponichi is reporting that the Fighters will wait to see where he is on June 7 and then give him an outing some time between June 8 and the break.
Source: Nikkan Sports 7/7/2017
[UPDATE 7/11 @ 11:10pm]
Otani is tomorrow’s announced starter against the Orix Buffaloes at Kyocera Dome. This will be his first game since he started a Ni-gun game on July 1. This will be his first Ichi-gun start since October last year.
Source: Sponichi 7/11/2017
[UPDATE 7/12 @ 11:37pm]
The Yankees are also interested in Otani and are planning to send scouts to check on him.
Source: Nikkan Sports 7/12/2017
[UPDATE 7/13 @ 2:41pm]
Scouts from at least seven MLB teams, including the Yankees, Braves, Indians, Dodgers, and Red Sox, were at the game Otani started on July 12.
[UPDATE 7/17 @ 5:16pm]
According to Sponichi, the Rays are also interested in Otani. They sent their Japan-based scout to Kamagaya at least five times while he rehabbed at Kamagaya. Sponichi also mentions the experience they gain with Brendan McKay might help with how they handle Otani.
Source: Sponichi 7/17/2017
[UPDATE 7/28 @ 9:36pm]
Otani could soon resume workouts as a pitcher. Pitching coach Masato Yoshii told reporters Otani would have to toss at least two bullpen sessions before he makes his next appearance as a pitcher.
Source: Sponichi 7/28/2017
Shohei Otani took fifty-three swings during live batting practice and hit seventeen over the fence (including eight in row).
Scouts from the Padres and Orioles were at Kamagaya on May 31.
[UPDATE 6/3 @ 9:19pm]
Two officials from the Reds were at Kamagaya on June 2.
Otani ran six thirty-meter dashes at about sixty percent. He took forty-two swings during live batting practice and hit four over the fence. After workouts, he went to a hospital in Tokyo for a periodic examination.
[UPDATE 6/4 @ 6:51pm]
Otani was told he was making good progress on his recovery during his periodic examination on June 2. However, he was also told that there was a difference in muscle mass between his two legs (less in the left leg). Trainers are planning to give Otani at least another week to strengthen the left leg. Base-running exercises will be pushed back until trainers feel he is ready.
[UPDATE 6/5 @ 11:24am]
Otani took forty-three swings during live batting practice on June 4 and hits nine over the fence. He has the day off today.
Otani has another periodic examination scheduled on June 16.
Source: Nikkan Sports 6/5/2017
[UPDATE 6/7 @ 6:52pm]
Dan Evans (Blue Jays) was at Kamagaya on June 6.
[UPDATE 6/9 @ 9:39pm]
Otani threw to a squatting catcher in the bullpen on June 8. With the catcher squatting on home plate, he threw thirty-one baseballs.
[UPDATE 6/11 @ 1:37am]
Otani took thirty-seven swings during live batting practice on June 9 and hit twelve over the fence. He also did some light running with cleats (eight thirty meter dashes).
Source: Nikkan Sports 6/10/2017
[UPDATE 6/11 @ 10:08pm]
Otani took forty-six swings during live batting practice today and hit sixteen over the fence. He hit six in a row at one point. He also reached the big screen (about 140 meters) twice and broke one of the LED panels.
Added additional details about the big screen on 6/12 @ 5:16pm
[UPDATE 6/14 @ 2:18pm]
Otani threw forty forty-one pitches in the bullpen on June 13. He threw thirty to a standing catcher and eleven to a squatting catcher. He mixed in six curveballs. This was the first time he threw a session at regulation distance (18.44 meters). Bullpen catcher Mitsuhisa Nakayama caught the session and felt Otani was throwing around 150km/h (he estimated the pitcher topped out at 152km/h).
Otani kept his workouts light today. Assuming no setbacks, he might be able to resume base-running practices on or after the 20th.
[UPDATE 6/14 @ 3:02pm]
Otani took forty-two swings during live batting practice today. He did not hit any over the fence, but did focus on hitting the ball toward left-center. He did some short dashes after batting practice and also played some light catch.
[UPDATE 6/17 @ 1:37am]
Otani was told during a periodic examination on June 16 that there was still a difference in muscle mass in his legs. He ran dashes at sixty percent during afternoon workouts. He will be able to start base-running exercises once he is running at eighty percent.
Source: Sponichi 6/16/2017
[UPDATE 6/17 @ 4:04pm]
Otani will begin running at full speed next week (he will start at eighty percent and work his way up to 100 percent). Assuming no problems, he could begin workouts without the help from trainers. He might be able to play in his first rehab game before the end of the month.
Otani’s periodic examination on June 16 was his last for the hamstring.
[UPDATE 6/18 @ 12:53pm]
Otani focused on pitcher practices on June 17 (no batting practice). He threw forty-two pitches in the bullpen — twenty to a standing catcher and twenty-two (six curveballs and sixteen fastballs) to a squatting catcher.
[UPDATE 6/18 @ 9:44pm]
Otani took thirty-eight swings during live batting practice today. He did not hit any over the fence. He also ran dashes.
Source: Sponichi 6/18/2017
[UPDATE 6/19 @ 1:44pm]
Otani ran five thirty-meter dashes with cleats at sixty to seventy percent during workouts at Kamagaya on June 18. He also ran the distance between the foul poles four times in regular sneakers. He could join the Ichi-gun team for practices and an evaluation on June 20.
Source: Sports Hochi 6/19/2017
[UPDATE 6/20 @ 9:31pm]
Otani joined the Ichi-gun team at Sapporo Dome for practices today. The coaches will spend the next two days checking to see if he is ready to return to the active roster.
He took thirty-nine swings during live batting practice and hit seven over the fence.
Otani’s left leg is apparently at about ninety percent.
[UPDATE 6/21 @ 12:25am]
Hideki Kuriyama was not fully satisfied with Otani’s progress.
[UPDATE 6/21 @ 12:30pm]
Kuriyama’s biggest concern is Otani’s ability to run at full speed. During practices on June 20, he did some running with cleats outside of Sapporo Dome on natural grass at about seventy percent. If there is some doubt about his running ability, his return to the active roster will most likely be pushed back.
[UPDATE 6/21 @ 5:36pm]
Otani took thirty-six swings during live batting practice today and hit four over the fence. He also did some running on the natural grass soccer field next to Sapporo Dome.
[UPDATE 6/21 @ 9:58pm]
Kuriyama is planning to wait until the last minute to decide whether or not Otani is ready for the active roster.
[UPDATE 6/22 @ 10:26pm]
Otani told reporters on June 21 that he felt he might not be able to perform at optimal levels this year because of his injuries and that he had to do his best within the allowed limits.
Source: Sanspo 6/22/2017
[UPDATE 6/23 @ 5:04pm]
Otani was added to the active roster today.
He swung the bat thirty-seven times and hit seven over the fence during pre-game batting practice. There are still concerns about is leg since he participated in base-running practices in his warm-up sneakers and ran at seventy percent.
[UPDATE 6/24 @ 2:34pm]
Otani threw forty-two pitches in the bullpen today. He also ran some dashes on artificial turf while wearing cleats.
Source: Nikkan Sports 6/24/2017
[UPDATE 6/26 @ 11:03am]
Otani ran the bases while running cleats during pre-game practices on June 25. He ran at about sixty to seventy percent.
[UPDATE 6/29 @ 6:06pm]
Otani is slated to pitch in a rehab game at Ni-gun on July 1 against the Seibu Lions at Kamagaya.
[UPDATE 6/30 @ 12:03pm]
Otani threw about forty pitches in the bullpen on June 29 (fourth session since he hurt his hamstring, second session since he returned to the active roster). He headed to the Kamagaya facilities after his workouts to prepare for his Ni-gun outing on July 1. He has not pitched in game since October 22, 2016.
According to Sports Hochi, Otani will pitch an inning on July 1 and then return to the Ichi-gun team the following day.
Otani is still unable to run at full speed. A team trainer told reporters they were keeping him at seventy to eighty percent until they knew how his body handled the pitching workload.
[UPDATE 7/1 @ 1:39am]
The game Otani’s is scheduled to pitch in on July 1 will broadcast by GAORO Sports.
Source: Sponichi 6/30/2017
The media learned on May 4 that the MLB issued a stern warning to the Los Angeles Dodgers because Adrian Gonzalez gave Shohei Otani a bag of baseball items (autographed uniform, Dodger merchandise) during an exhibition game with the Mexico national team last fall. The MLB also issued a general warning to teams about coming into contact with Otani while the Nippon Ham Fighters were in Arizona for spring camp in February.
The media also learned on May 4 that the MLB is planning to submit a request to open discussions about making changes to the current posting system. The system was last revised in 2013 to include an upper limit posting fee of twenty million US dollars and the ability for any MLB team to sit at the negotiating table if they are willing to pay the posting fee. The deadline to request a change is May 5 (Japan time).
Source: Sanspo 5/4/2017
[UPDATE 5/5 @ 6:02pm]
A report at Sponichi points to the possibility of the MLB wanting to lower the posting fee limit.
Source: Sponichi 5/5/2017
[UPDATE 5/8 @ 10:23pm]
The NPB informed members during an executive committee meeting in Tokyo earlier today that they received a request to discuss possible changes to the posting system from the MLB. The NPB has not yet received any specifics about what the MLB wants to change.0 Comments