Nippon Ham To Hold More Talks With Otani

Nippon Ham to hold more talks with OtaniThe Nippon Ham Fighters said Friday they will return to the negotiating table to hold another round of talks with No. 1 draft pick Shohei Otani.

The Fighters had met with the right-hander from Hanamaki Higashi High School, who has already expressed a desire to play in the major leagues, in what was expected to be the final round of talks on Monday.

But Otani's side, according to a top Fighters official, has requested another round of negotiations, although a conclusion is not expected to be reached directly after the talks.

"It seems (Otani) is unsure of some things and wants to listen to what we have to say again," said the official. "He can't make a decision and wants to hear out (Fighters) manager (Hideki) Kuriyama one more time."

In the last round of talks on Monday, Kuriyama, who took part in the meetings for the first time, talked with Otani about major league mounds, imparted his knowledge of the sport cultivated during his time as a baseball analyst and did his best to impress upon the youngster his necessity to Japanese baseball.

But Kuriyama insisted he was not attempting to alter what will ultimately be Otani's decision.

"I didn't come here to urge him to change his decision. Together, I want to make his dream a reality. I spoke to him as a commentator, not as a manager," said Kuriyama.

Nippon Ham named Otani as its No. 1 pick in the Oct. 25 draft, despite knowing that the teen wishes to go directly to the majors.