The "Shohei Otani Experience" shifts ever so slightly towards its second phase on Thursday, when the celebrated rookie is scheduled to make his pitching debut for the Kamagaya Fighters, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters' ni-gun squad.

"This is my first start," Otani said Thursday at Tokyo Dome. "I'll be ready for anything."

Otani will face the Chiba Lotte Marines' farm team in an 11 a.m. start at QVC Marine Field. The game was originally scheduled to take place at Lotte's minor-league home in Urawa, Saitama Prefecture, but was shifted to the ichi-gun team's stadium in anticipation of a much larger turnout than usual with Otani taking the mound.