Japanese rookie pitcher Imanaga picked for Major League All-Star Game

Japanese pitcher and Major League Baseball rookie Imanaga Shota has been picked to play in the MLB All-Star Game scheduled for July 16 in Texas.

Imanaga of the Chicago Cubs will join the game along with Ohtani Shohei of the Los Angeles Dodgers as National League teammates.

Ohtani had been chosen earlier as a designated hitter by fan votes. Imanaga's selection was announced on Sunday. Pitchers are picked in votes by MLB players.

The southpaw has started in 16 games so far in his first MLB season, marking 7 wins and 2 losses, with a 3.16 earned run average. He has only given 15 walks, the least among the National League pitchers with a qualifying number of innings pitched.

Imanaga is the ninth Japanese player to have been picked for the All-Star Game in their first year with the MLB.

Imanaga told reporters after a home game that he is pleased to be chosen. He said that if he has a chance to pitch, he will do his best so many people will remember his name and face.

He said he hopes to watch all the hurlers pitch or play catch, even in the bullpen, should he have a chance.

Imanaga also said he never expected to be a teammate of Ohtani on such an occasion, and he feels honored. He also said he would like to learn the keys to success from Ohtani, who has been a top player in the baseball world for a long time.