A’s Shintaro Fujinami to make spring training debut against Shohei Ohtani

Feb 24, 2023, 11:30 AM

Pitcher Shintaro Fujinami #17 of Japan throws to first base in the top of the fourth inning during ...

TOKYO, JAPAN - MARCH 10: Pitcher Shintaro Fujinami #17 of Japan throws to first base in the top of the fourth inning during the World Baseball Classic Pool B Game Six between China and Japan at Tokyo Dome on March 10, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

(Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

On Thursday, A’s Manager Mark Kotsay announced Shintaro Fujinami will make his Cactus League debut against a familiar name.

Fujinami’s debut is on Tuesday, Feb. 28, against Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Angels. Kotsay said the matchup wasn’t planned, “it just so happens to coincide with the day Ohtani is pitching.”

“I’m sure there’ll be a lot of excitement about seeing these two,” Kotsay said, adding it’s probably been a while since they’ve been on the field together.

The last time Fujinami and Ohtani were on the same field was back in 2014 when they teamed up to face off against MLB players in the Japan All-Star Series. Kotsay said he expects his pitcher to only play about two innings with a pitch count of around 35 pitches.

Through his translator Issei Kamada, Fujinami said he might get nervous since it’s his first game, but he’s looking forward to facing off against Ohtani.

“I think it’s a rare matchup and I’m pretty sure Japanese fans are looking forward to it,” Fujinami said through an interpreter.

The Oakland A’s signed Shintaro Fujinami to a one-year deal earlier this year. The 28-year-old pitcher joins Oakland after 10 seasons with the Hanshin Tigers where he amassed a 57-54 record with a 3.41 ERA.

You can watch the two Japanese stars face off Tuesday, at 12:05 p.m. PST on the NBC Sports App or MLB.TV.

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