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Otani strikes out 16 batters to improve to 8-1

July 9, 2014

SENDAI, Japan (AP) — Shohei Otani recorded a personal-best 16 strikeouts on Wednesday while leading the Nippon Ham Fighters to a 2-1 win over the Rakuten Eagles.

Otani gave up one run in the first inning but went the distance to improve to 8-1 with a .235 ERA. The 20-year-old righthander, whose fastball has been clocked close to 100 mph (160 kph), rejected a chance to pursue a career in Major League Baseball two years ago because the Fighters assured him he could play outfield when not pitching.

In 47 games this season, Otani has five home runs with 20 RBIs and a .285 batting average.

Former Nippon Ham manager Trey Hillman, who is contributing to pro scouting and player development for the New York Yankees, was in attendance at Wednesday’s game.

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