• Kyodo


Pitcher Shohei Otani, whose season has been derailed by injuries, could be activated prior to Friday’s game against the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters said Wednesday.

Otani, who practiced with the Fighters’ first team for the second straight day at Sapporo Dome, started the season restricted to batting due to an ankle injury suffered last year. On April 8, he suffered a left thigh muscle strain and has not played since.

On Wednesday, the 23-year-old Otani took part in full batting practice and looked sharp in the cage, but is not yet ready to run at game speed.

“The first thing is that I have to wait until I’m fit to play in a game,” Otani said.

The Fighters are in fifth place in the Pacific League standings and PL batting leader Kensuke Kondo is out of the lineup with a right thigh muscle injury.

“I want him (Otani) back on the first team,” Fighters manager Hideki Kuriyama said. “I want to consider it (his activation) until the last minute.”

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