CHIBA – Los Angeles Angels general manager Billy Eppler met with Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters officials on Monday to seek advice in preparation for slugging ace pitcher Shohei Ohtani’s move to the majors.
Eppler asked Fighters officials, including manager Hideki Kuriyama, about how to make use of Ohtani’s pitching and batting skills, during a meeting that lasted for around 45 minutes.
Eppler did not make any comments at the Pacific League ballclub’s facility in Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo.
However, Kuriyama said he was pleased to see the Angels are committed to making the transition smooth for Ohtani, who played five seasons with the Sapporo-based team.
“I think he wants to know how we worked with him,” Kuriyama said. “I noticed how the team is hard-working and sincere.”
Nippon Ham general manager Hiroshi Yoshimura, who also attended the meeting, said he assumed Eppler had hoped to gather information about how the Fighters used Ohtani during their games. The Japanese team provided the Angels with Ohtani’s data about his pitching and training methods from the past five seasons.
Later in the day, Ohtani and the Angels officials headed to an indoor training facility, where they are believed to have checked the progress of the 23-year-old’s right ankle since he had surgery to remove a bone spur in October.
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