Otani matches speed mark during preseason game


Shohei Otani, who has thrown the fastest pitch recorded by a Japanese player, matched his career best of 162 kph on Wednesday.

In a preseason game against the Yomiuri Giants at Sapporo Dome, the right-handed Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters ace struck out Garrett Jones swinging in the fourth inning. Otani, who shares the Nippon Professional Baseball speed record with former Giants reliever Marc Kroon, started Jones off with two fastballs of 160 and 162 kph, before getting the left-handed hitter to miss a forkball.

Otani, who is scheduled to start on Opening Day when the Fighters visit the Lotte Marines on March 25, struck out eight batters and allowed two hits in five scoreless innings.