Former rival of ‘joining OAK’ “I will avoid all matches with Otani” showing off his eloquence.
Fujinami Shintaro (29, Oakland), who was seen as a rival of Shohei Otani (29, LA Angels) in high school, showed off his eloquence from the first day of joining the team.
Fujinami held a press conference at the Oakland club office in California on the 18th (Korea Standard Time).
On the high school stage, Fujinami was no less a national player than Ohtani. He became an ace from the second grade and led Toyin High School to two consecutive spring and summer competitions in the third grade. Koshien’s career performance was 1.07 ERA in 76 innings, in contrast to Ohtani’s unstable control in high school.
As such, he was nominated by four clubs, the most in the NPB rookie draft in 2012, and joined Hanshin, but the situation turned around on the professional stage. Fujinami played 189 games in 10 seasons due to poor control and self-management, recording only 57 wins, 54 losses, and a 3.41 ERA.
On the other hand, Ohtani, who joined Nippon Ham, won three pitchers in 2015 and the Pacific League MVP in 2016 while also working as a pitcher and succeeded in advancing to the Major League in 2018. Since then, he has continued his pitching and batting career in the U.S., winning the 2018 American League Rookie of the Year award and the 2021 American League MVP award.
However, Fujinami also succeeded in entering the Major League on the 14th by signing a one-year, $3.25 million contract with Oakland through the posting system. Naturally, at the press conference to join the team, there was talk of old rival Ohtani. Fujinami’s team Oakland and Ohtani’s LA Angels belong to the same American League West, so many showdowns are expected.
He was amused by mischievous questions about Otani. Fujinami, who communicated through the club’s official YouTube, made the scene laugh by answering a fan’s request to “strike out Otani,” saying, “I will avoid both Otani and the game.”
“Otani is one of the best players in the world. “I was surprised to see him attracting attention in the U.S.,” he praised, adding, “Japanese fans will be looking forward to our showdown.” I look forward to the confrontation, too. “If I have a chance, I will play a bold game,” he expected a reunion. In addition, “My name is Shintaro Fujinami. He left a deep impression by introducing himself in English for 1 minute and 20 seconds, saying, “Shintaro is difficult, so please call me Mt. Fuji’s Fuji.”
He went back and forth between starting and middle last year, but he plans to try first in Oakland. According to the U.S. media CBS, Fujinami receives $100,000 each in the fifth, eighth, and 10th innings, $150,000 each in the 13th and 18th innings, and $200,000 each in the 22nd and 25th innings. The total amount is $1 million.
Fujinami introduced his strengths, saying, “I’m confident in fastballs and splitters,” adding, “This year’s goal is to contribute to the team by going around the starting rotation for a year without injury.”