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The Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters said Friday that they have been notified by Major League Baseball that Shohei Ohtani’s contract with the Los Angeles Angels has officially taken effect.

The Fighters, where Ohtani spent the first five years of his professional career, posted the 23-year-old pitcher and slugger on Dec. 1 and will receive a $20 million posting fee from the Angels for their negotiating rights.

According to Fighters general manager Hiroshi Yoshimura, the fee will be paid in installments, and once the first sum is confirmed, Nippon Ham will start the paperwork to release the player from his contract.

“I express my sincere gratitude (to Ohtani) for his huge contribution, including our first Japan Series championship in 10 years last year,” Fighters president Kenso Takeda said.

“I believe he’ll be taking on a challenge as a two-way player again in the major leagues. I’m sure he’ll become a one-of-a-kind player that will shock the world by changing the way they see the game of baseball

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