About half of the league had representatives on hand to watch Shohei Otani pitch for the Nippon Ham Fighters in the Japan Pacific League on Thursday, the Kyodo News reports. Yankees GM Brian Cashman was among the reps scouting Otani. Others, according to Ken Rosenthal, included the Diamondbacks, Orioles, Red Sox, Cubs, Reds, Indians, Dodgers, Pirates, Mariners, Rangers, Blue Jays, and Nationals, as well as the Padres and Rays.
Otani went 3 1/3 innings, yielding four runs on three hits and three walks with four strikeouts. It’s only his second start of the season, as he has been battling some injuries. Known for being a two-way player, Otani is hitting .342/.402/.548 with five home runs and 22 RBI in 164 plate appearances on the season.
Jon Morosi reports that those within the industry have “increasing confidence” that Otani will play in Major League Baseball next year. Of course, he’ll be subject to the league’s international spending limit. Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish headline an otherwise underwhelming group of free agent starters, which will likely help increase interest in Otani.
Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman strugged in Sunday afternoon’s start against the Red Sox, yielding four runs (three earned) over five innings. He fell to 2-7 with a 5.86 ERA. The Jays dropped three of four games to the Sox in the series and now sit with a 43-52 record heading into the All-Star break.
Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun reports that while Stroman was initially cool, calm, and collected when speaking to the media after the game, he eventually snapped. Stroman was asked by a reporter about breaking into professional baseball with short-season Single-A Vancouver in 2012. Stroman yelled at the reporter, noting that his team had just lost to the Red Sox, and called his team “f– terrible.” Keegan Matheson’s account of the situation lines up with Buffery’s as well.
Prior to the outburst, Stroman had just praised his teammates, saying, “My team picks me up a ton. They pick me up all year. I should be able to pitch better in times like that when my team doesn’t have my back. Because they’ve had my back a ton of times. So, love my guys on my team and like I said, I would go to war with them any day.”
Stroman will have off until Friday, so hopefully the time off helps him clear his mind. It has understandably been a frustrating season in Toronto.