• Kyodo


Shohei Otani will make his fourth start of the season on Thursday, Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters manager Hideki Kuriyama revealed Tuesday.

Otani, who threw 78 pitches in his previous start last week, a 5-2/3 inning win over the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, is expected to throw around 100 pitches when he takes the mound at Sapporo Dome against the Pacific League champion Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.

“I believe he will do a good job of pitching,” Kuriyama said of his ace, whose season has been hit hard by injuries.

The right-hander tuned up by throwing about 30 pitches at the Fighters’ practice facility in Sapporo on Tuesday.

“I’m not particularly concerned about my opponents,” Otani said. “I want to prepare and go out and do what I have been doing, and that’s to execute those things I do well.”

At the end of last year, Otani asked the Fighters to post him after the 2017 season and the team has indicated it will do so.

Last Wednesday, an informed source said Otani’s desire to play overseas next year has not wavered, although the player himself has not confirmed this to the media, and team officials said last week they had yet to hear anything from him directly.

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