Major leaguer Lars Nuthba (26, St. Louis Cardinals), who will play for the Japanese national team at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March, could not hide his excitement and anticipation.
Sports Nippon reported an interview with Nutba on the 13th.
“It’s such an honor to play for Japan at the WBC,” said Nutba, who currently lives in California, USA. “It’s incredible that I’m playing for Japan, even to my mother and other relatives on the mother’s side,” adding, “For a country that’s half of my roots, it’s incredible.” It is an honor and thankfulness to be able to fight,” he said.
The WBC allows athletes to choose their country of entry not only for themselves, but also for their parents or grandparents’ nationality and place of birth.
Nutba, who was born to an American father, Charlie Nutba, and a Japanese mother, Enokida Kumi, decided to step on the WBC stage with the Japanese national team.
At this year’s WBC, Japan, which is aiming to return to the top for the first time in 14 years since 2009, contacted a Japanese major leaguer to discuss their intention to join the national team, and Nutba accepted the Japanese side’s request with the permission of his team.
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. He finished his first major league season with a batting average of 0.239, 5 homers and 15 RBIs in 58 games, and harvested a batting average of 0.228, 14 homers and 40 RBIs in 108 games last year.
Nutba was very much looking forward to meeting Shohei Otani (LA Angels), a superstar who successfully doubles as a pitcher in the major leagues. Nutba, who plays in the National League, has never faced Ohtani, who plays in the American League.
He said, “I look forward to meeting Ohtani. I am thrilled to see the way he practices and copes with the same team.” I’m very excited,” he said.
He added, “The opportunity to play with a player like Ohtani seldom comes along. I want to ask for advice.” 메이저놀이터