Shohei Ohtani said Friday he is determined to start his first year with the Los Angeles Angels on a high note.
“The Angels are aiming to win the World Series just like any other ballclub,” Otani said after a training session that was open to the public. “I want to train hard now so I can help them reach that goal.”
The 23-year-old ran dashes in the morning and later worked his pitching and hitting with a machine. He also exchanged New Year’s greetings with the fans who came to watch him at the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters’ facility in Chiba Prefecture.
Ohtani, who chose to join the Angels after spending five seasons with the Fighters in December, said he spent his New Year’s holiday with his family and friends in Iwate Prefecture.
When asked if he felt any different after celebrating the New Year, he said, “I don’t feel anything special at this point. The things to do in practice haven’t changed.”
The two-way star, who will join the Angels in Tempe, Arizona, on Feb. 14, also talked about some of the challenges he will face in the majors, such as the difference in humidity and trying to build up his weight.
“I’ve been working on my body for five years (in Japan), but I’m still not done,” he said. “I’ll continue to work on that and balance through technical practices.”
Angels general manager Billy Eppler said Thursday he would visit Japan in February to meet with Ohtani and Nippon Ham officials to continue preparations for Ohtani’s move to the majors, according to a report published by the Orange County Register.
The Angels begin spring training on Feb. 23 and will have their season opener on the road against the Oakland Athletics on Mar. 29.
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