Otani meets with Fighters; still undecided


High school pitcher Shohei Otani met Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters manager Hideki Kuriyama on Monday but did not announce a decision about where he will pursue a pro career.

The Fighters made the hard-throwing right-hander their first pick in Nippon Professional Baseball’s amateur draft on Oct. 25, four days after he announced his decision to seek a pro contract with a major league club.

“He has not reached a conclusion. The way things are, he is still unable to take the first step,” said Otani’s father Toru, who also gave his impression of his son’s likelihood of signing with the Fighters.

“Some things were troubling him, but he appears to be seeing those things in a positive light.”

Monday’s meeting in Iwate Prefecture was the third between Fighters representatives and the Hanamaki Higashi High School star, and the second to include Kuriyama.

Monday’s meeting was requested by Otani following a session on Nov. 26 that was expected to conclude their talks. The pitcher has already met with representatives of three major league clubs, including the Texas Rangers.

Although the youngster did not speak with the media, a statement from him said, “I appreciate the people from the team clearing up some doubts for me.”