Japanese pitcher Fujinami excited to join Oakland Athletics

Japanese pitcher Fujinami Shintaro says he looks forward to starting his new career in Major League Baseball.

The 28-year-old right-hander joined the Oakland Athletics after signing a one-year contract through the posting system. US media outlets report the contract is worth 3.25 million dollars.

Fujinami introduced himself at the team's office in Oakland, California on Tuesday. He asked everyone to simply call him "Fuji, like Mount Fuji." He expressed in fluent English his gratitude to Japan's Hanshin Tigers, where he spent the past 10 seasons, and to his parents.

He said he is confident in his fastballs and splitters. He added that he believes that his fastballs will be faster than those of the average MLB pitcher. He said he looks forward to pitching as best as he can.

Athletics general manager David Forst said he expects that Fujinami will serve as a starter.

Fujinami said he wants to face his compatriots, two-way star Ohtani Shohei of the Los Angeles Angels and Chicago Cubs outfielder Suzuki Seiya. Fujinami said they are all the same age. He added that Ohtani is one of the best players in the world. He said that for Japanese fans, it will be very exciting for them to play against each other.

His uniform number has yet to be decided, but he put on the No.1 jersey at the press conference.

He is scheduled to join spring training in Arizona, which begins on February 15, to get acclimated before the season opens in late March.