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Nippon-Ham Fighters pitcher-slash-outfielder Shohei Otani is the best player in the world who isn’t in the majors — and who might not be in the majors anytime soon. Unfortunately, American fans hoping to get a look at Otani up close during the upcoming World Baseball Classic have been dealt yet another blow.

That’s because Otani announced on Wednesday that he would not be pitching for Japan due to a sore ankle, according to the Associated Press:

“It would have been difficult in terms of getting ready in time. It’s unfortunate, but I won’t be able to pitch in the WBC,” said Otani, who is in Arizona, where the Fighters are holding a spring camp.

It’s worth noting that Otani could still appear in the tournament as a hitter. The odds of that are uncertain, however, given Nippon-Ham’s concern that Otani’s condition could require surgery if it worsens.

The WBC is scheduled to begin in early March.


Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Shohei Otani, the player we all wanted to see at the WBC, will hit but not pitch