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Friday, Sep. 21, 2012

Dodgers trying to persuade Iwate schoolboy pitcher Otani to sign with club


HANAMAKI, Iwate Pref. — The Los Angeles Dodgers made a pitch for blue chip prospect Shohei Otani of Hanamaki Higashi High School on Thursday as assistant general manager Logan White told coach Hiroshi Sasaki that he wants to sign the right-hander after graduation.

White's meeting with Sasaki lasted for more than an hour and a half at the school, but Otani, who is set to finish school in March and announced on Tuesday that he will turn pro, did not attend.

Otani touched 160 kph on the gun during the regionals of this summer's National High School Baseball Championship, and has drawn interest from professional teams both domestic and stateside.

Flush with cash under new ownership led by Stan Kasten and fronted by former NBA star Magic Johnson, the Dodgers were the first in line to woo the teenager, who White likened to the team's Cy Young lefty Clayton Kershaw and rated as one of the best prospects in the world.

The New York Mets and the Boston Red Sox are also believed to be interested in pursuing Otani.

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