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Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012

Teen pitcher Otani 'refreshed' to play for Fighters


SAPPORO — The Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters introduced hard-throwing teenager Shohei Otani to the press on Tuesday after the club kept him in Japan by signing him to his first pro contract.

News photo
Formal introduction: Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters pitcher Shohei Otani meets the press on Tuesday in Sapporo after he signed a contract. KYODO

Otani had announced his decision to turn pro with a major league club in November prior to be being named as the Fighters' first-round draft pick. The Pacific League champions then orchestrated a successful campaign to persuade the youngster to start his career in Nippon Professional Baseball.

"I feel refreshed and I have a really strong desire to do my best," he told a news conference.

The Hanamaki Higashi High School product signed for a 2013 salary of ¥15 million with a ¥100 million signing bonus and ¥50 million in performance-based incentives — the maximum figures allowed by NPB for a first-year pro.

Otani will wear the same number that Yu Darvish wore with the Fighters, No. 11.

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