• Kyodo


Shohei Otani, the 2016 Pacific League MVP, will be sidelined for about four weeks after suffering a muscle strain in his left thigh on Saturday.

The Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters designated hitter and ace pitcher was trying to beat out an infield single in the first inning of a loss to the Orix Buffaloes and limped off the field.

He had the leg iced and walked to the team bus after the game without assistance. The injury was diagnosed at an Osaka hospital as a left femoral biceps strain.

Otani has been unable to pitch since suffering a right ankle injury during last year’s Japan Series and aggravating it in November and examinations have revealed he is dealing with a bone spur in his right foot.

When it was unknown whether he would be ready in time to play for Japan during March’s World Baseball Classic, Otani was dropped from the roster.

This latest injury comes 11 days after Otani threw 50 pitches into a net in the Sapporo Dome bullpen as he works toward a starting rotation comeback.

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