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Japanese superstar Shohei Otani will be MLB-ready in 3 months

Sporting News logo Sporting News 10/12/2017 Travis Durkee
Shohei Otani © (Getty Images) Shohei Otani

Japanese sensation Shohei Otani, the pitcher-outfielder who recently said he'd like to play in the U.S. starting next season, will be ready to go in three months after undergoing ankle surgery Thursday.

The Nippon Ham Fighters said Otani, 23, will be fit to start camp in February, Kyodo News reported.

Otani is likely to leave Japan for MLB through the posting system in the offseason after batting .332 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs in 65 Pacific League games this season. As a pitcher, he was 3-2 with a 3.20 ERA and 29 strikeouts.

In his 2016 MVP season he batted .332 with 22 home runs and 67 RBIs while posting a 10-4 record on the mound with a 2.12 ERA and 174 strikeouts in 140 innings.

Luckily for MLB teams, they won’t have to break the bank for Otani if he comes stateside this offseason. Under the CBA approved in November, Otani is too young to get a major-league contract worth whatever a team is willing to pay.

According to The Associated Press, the most Otani could get this offseason would be a $3,535,000 signing bonus from Texas or $3.25 million from the Yankees. If he waited until he was 25 he could challenge the current record for a Japanese player, set by pitcher Masahiro Tanaka with a $155 million, seven-year deal from the Yankees before the 2014 season.

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