SAPPORO, Japan (AP) — Los Angeles Angels-bound Shohei Ohtani bid farewell to fans of his former Japanese club as he sets off to join his new team.
The star pitcher and hitter wore an Angels jersey to his public news conference Monday. He opened with an introduction in English, saying: "Long time, no see. I'm Shohei Ohtani. Welcome to my press conference. Please enjoy." The Sapporo Dome crowd erupted in laughter and applause.
For five seasons, Ohtani called Sapporo home, playing for the Nippon Ham Fighters. Ohtani intends to be a starting pitcher and everyday hitter with the Angels.
He spurned other major league offers to join two-time MVP Mike Trout and slugger Albert Pujols with the Angels. The Angels are coming off their second consecutive losing season and haven't won a playoff game since 2009.