Superstar Ohtani Shohei (29, LA Angels) avoided an immediate answer on whether to double pitch at the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC).
Ohtani attended the Japan 2023 WBC national team entry announcement held in Tokyo, Japan on the 6th with coach Hideki Kuriyama (62). Japan confirmed only 12 players, including Ohtani and Darvish (36), among the 30 WBC final entries that day.
What is attracting attention is whether Ohtani, who led the ‘double sword’ craze in the major leagues, will enter both the mound and at bat in the WBC. Although the WBC has a structure in which excessive fighting is impossible due to the number of pitches, it is not uncommon to have both pitching and batting jobs in international competitions.
In the 2015 WBSC Premier12, 스포츠토토 Ohtani’s only adult national team career, he focused exclusively on pitching. He made two starts in the match against Korea and showed off his superpowered pitching with 3 hits and 21 strikeouts in 13 innings.
Director Kuriyama is taking a cautious stance for now. According to the Japanese media ‘Nikkan Gendai’, coach Kuriyama did not immediately answer, saying, “I need to confirm with my team, the Los Angeles Angels,” after receiving a question about Ohtani’s dual career as a pitcher.
In Japan, even if Ohtani concentrates only on batting, the mound’s weight does not drop. Top class pitchers are lined up, including San Diego ace Darvish, Yamamoto Yoshinobu (25, Orix), who won the Sawamura Award for two consecutive years in Nippon Professional Baseball, and Sasaki Rocky (22, Chiba Lotte), a fastball pitcher.
Ohtani also avoided a clear answer, saying, “Players are in a position to be appointed, and I cannot touch the (coach’s) method of selecting players. I will do my best as much as I can.”
Even if Ohtani concentrates only on batting, the match between Korea and Japan in the first round of the finals scheduled for March 10th is enough to attract fans’ attention. Attention is focusing on what Ohtani, who overwhelmed Korea as a pitcher, will show at bat.