Even for fellow major leaguers, Ohtani has a special shape. Lars Nutba (26, St. Louis Cardinals), who joined the Japanese national team at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) held in March, was very pleased with his participation in the national team and meeting Ohtani.
Japanese media Sponichi Annex reported an interview with Nutba on the 13th (Korean time). Nutba is currently living at home in California, USA. “It’s a great honor to play for Japan at the WBC,” he said. He added, “It is an honor and I am grateful to be able to fight for a country that is half of my roots.”
Compared to other international competitions, the qualifications for the national team are more generous in the WBC. Players can choose the country they will compete in, depending on the nationality and place of birth of their parents or grandparents as well as themselves. Nutba is of mixed Japanese descent. His father is Charlie Noobbaji, an American, but his mother is Gumi Enokida, a Japanese. His middle name is also ‘Tatsuji’. As a result, Nutba decided to go to the WBC as a member of the Japanese national team. The Japanese side also sounded out Nutba’s intention to join, and Nutba finally boarded the national team with the permission of his team.
Although the Japanese national team is filled with outstanding players, Nutba is not far behind them. Nutba, who was selected by St. Louis with the 243rd overall pick in the 8th round in the 2018 rookie draft, debuted in the big leagues in 2021. After finishing his first season in the major leagues (MLB) with 58 games batting average of 0.239, 5 homers and 15 RBIs, he recorded 108 games batting average of 0.228, 14 homers and 40 RBIs last year. With an on-base percentage of 0.340, he has a net on-base percentage of more than 10% and is considered a key future resource for St. Louis because of his long hitting power. 스포츠토토
Nuthba also put a lot of meaning in meeting Ohtani. Nutba has yet to face Ohtani in the National League. Nuthba said, “I can’t wait to meet Ohtani. I’m excited to see how he trains and how he copes with the same team.” It will happen,” he said with hope. He also added, “The opportunity to play with a player like Ohtani seldom comes. I want to ask for advice.”