The first start of the year for Shohei Otani did not go as planned

Japan’s starter Shohei Otani gestures after taking two outs during the third inning of the semifinal game against South Korea at the Premier12 world baseball tournament at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Toru Takahashi)
AP Photo/Toru Takahashi

It is safe to say that the first start of the season for Shohei Otani did not go as planned. The two-way standout most recently took the mound for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters on Wednesday en route to getting the hook midway through the second inning.

The prolific right-hander was making just his first competitive start since Game 1 of the Japan Series back in October as well.

“I couldn’t do a single thing I wanted to do,” said Otani, via the Japan Times. “I could turn up the velocity, but I couldn’t harness it. It shows I’ve got a lot of work to do.”

As a result of the forgettable outing, the up-and-coming hurler allowed four earned runs on two hits and three walks over the course of 1.1 innings of work while ultimately taking the loss. However, it is also worth noting that his time as a pitcher has been hindered due to a torn left hamstring. With his latest appearance as a pitcher coming to a screeching halt, Otani threw a mere 29 pitches before manager Hideki Kuriyama was forced to leave the dugout.

It is also worth noting that the struggling Otani was then replaced by Luis Mendoza, who then gave up a bases-clearing double to Hikaru Ito of the Orix Buffaloes.

“I felt bad for Mendoza,” Otani added. “I have to learn from this and keep working towards my next start.”

The Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters would go on to lose the outing, 6-3, at the hands of the Orix Buffaloes.

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