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Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters star Shohei Otani trained with the first team on Tuesday for the first time since suffering a left-thigh muscle strain in early April.

The 22-year-old, who has been training with the Fighters farm team following the injury, joined his teammates in batting practice at Sapporo Dome.

“I’ll be closer to a comeback if I can finish each day without a problem,” he said.

“It’s better to be back sooner rather than later, but being able to play (as much as possible) during the rest of the season is more important.”

Skipper Hideki Kuriyama was cautious over the possibility of getting Otani back to game action on Friday when his team plays Pacific-League leading Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, the first game after interleague action.

I’m watching him trying to explore that possibility,” Kuriyama said. “But there are things that are not going as well as I hoped. I have to think carefully.”

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