BOSTON -- The Red Sox have met with 18-year-old flamethrower from Japan, Shohei Otani. The right-hander reportedly has hit triple digits, and has decided to skip the Nippon Professional Baseball draft in favor of playing professionally in the U.S.
"I can confirm that we met with him, but I'm not going to say anything else," general manager Ben Cherington said Tuesday. "He's a respected young pitching prospect in Japan."
The Rangers, Dodgers, Orioles and Yankees are reportedly interested as well.
"I think I will start in the Minor Leagues, but I want to challenge in the Majors," Otani recently told The Associated Press. "It's been my dream since entering high school."
Cherington talked generally about the challenges a young player from a different nation would face coming to the United States and playing Minor League ball.
"This isn't specific to Otani, but I think any young player, teenage players, who comes to the United States, whether they're from the Dominican or Korea or Taiwan or whatever, there's an assimilation challenge. And it's important for us to help them assimilate in a way, become comfortable in a way."
Asked if the Sox have seen video of Otani, Cherington said, "I don't want to get into what we do to try to evaluate players, but he is someone we've talked about."