Shohei Ohtani doesn’t wait until fall to get his ring


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Shohei Ohtani doesn’t wait until fall to get his ring

STAR POWER. LA Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani takes batting practice during a Spring Training workout at Camelback Ranch.

Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Major League Baseball superstar Shohei Ohtani, famously reserved even if he’s one of the most popular personalities in Japan, keeps his bride's name a secret after announcing his marriage

While the world braced itself for Shohei Ohtani to chase a ring once he signed a 10-year, $700-million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the intensely private two-way phenom shared a bit more news about how he spent his offseason.

“To all my friends and fans throughout, I have an announcement to make,” Ohtani posted on Instagram in Japanese on Thursday, February 29. “Not only have I (started) a new chapter in my career with the Dodgers but I also have began a new life with someone from my native country of Japan who is very special to me and I wanted everyone to know I am now married.

“I am excited for what is (to) come and thank you for your support.”

Ohtani, 29, did not reveal his new spouse’s identity and asked the media to refrain from “conducting unauthorized interviews.” 

On Friday, March 1, the Major League Baseball superstar kept fans guessing but said in a chat with reporters at the Dodgers’ training camp that his wife is a “normal Japanese woman” and he proposed last year “in an ordinary way.”

Despite being one of the most famous people in Japan, Ohtani is famously reserved. He high-fived a small dog in a November video announcement of his MVP win, but it was not until a press conference at the Dodger Stadium the following month that the world learned the dog’s name.

A picture of the dog, known as “Dekopin,” appeared at the bottom of Ohtani’s marriage notice on Instagram.

Fans in Japan extended their congratulations to the homegrown hero.

“I think anybody would be good (for him)! I think it’s a good thing because he’s probably happy,” Tomomi Sakai, a nurse in her 50s, told Reuters.

Taro Nakao, a 19-year-old university student said, “I think if he’s happy in his personal life then he might play better in matches as well.”

Ohtani won his second American League MVP award this past season when he batted .304 with an AL-leading 44 homers with 95 RBIs in 135 games with the Los Angeles Angels. He led the AL with a .412 on-base percentage and led the majors with a .654 slugging percentage.

As a pitcher, Ohtani went 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA and recorded 167 strikeouts over 132 innings (23 starts). He limited opposing batters to a .184 average.

Ohtani’s pitching efforts ended after he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on August 23. The three-time All-Star continued playing as a batter until sustaining an oblique injury on Septembet 3.

Despite smacking 171 homers and going 38-19 with a 3.01 ERA as a pitcher, Ohtani didn’t play in a single playoff game during his six seasons in Anaheim. –

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