Japanese Major League baseball star Ohtani Shohei says he plans to donate 60,000 gloves to elementary schools across Japan.
The two-way player announced his plan on Instagram in Japanese and English, with an image of a glove and himself playing catch. An accompanying message in Japanese says, "Let's play baseball!"
Ohtani says he will be donating approximately 60,000 gloves to all the 20,000 or so elementary schools in Japan.
Ohtani writes, "I'm hoping the kids can spend their days happily with a lot of energy through baseball."
He goes on, "I'll be looking forward to sharing the field one day with someone that grew up using this glove!"
A sporting goods maker with which Ohtani has a contract says two gloves for right-handers and one for left-handers will be sent to each school from December through March.
Ohtani, one of the three finalists for the American League Most Valuable Player Award, is now a free agent after finishing his contract with the Los Angeles Angels. He is able to negotiate and sign on with any Major League team this winter.
The team he will join is the center of attention at this year's meeting of MLB clubs' general managers, now under way in Arizona. It has attracted a larger number of media representatives than usual.
Many teams have shown interest in contracting the All-Star pitcher and batter.
US media name the Los Angeles Dodgers as one of the favorites to engage him. The New York Mets and the San Diego Padres may be on the list of contenders.