Shohei Ohtani Sets New MLB Record For Home Runs By A Japanese Player

Photo: Instagram/Shohei Ohtani

On Sunday, Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Dodgers hit a two-run home run against the New York Mets, breaking Hideki Matsui's record for the most home runs by a Japanese-born player in MLB history.

Ohtani's 176th career home run came in the third inning of the Dodgers' 10-0 victory over the Mets at Dodger Stadium. The 423-foot homer off Mets pitcher Adrian Houser gave the Dodgers an early 2-0 lead.

Hideki Matsui set the previous record in 2012, and since then, few players have come close to challenging it. Unlike many Japanese players in the MLB who focus on pitching or contact hitting, Ohtani stands out with his exceptional power. He led the American League in home runs last season, becoming the first Japanese-born player to do so.

Photo: Instagram/Shohei Ohtani

The Dodgers dominated the game, scoring eight runs in the fifth inning alone, including a three-run homer from Andy Pages.

Top MLB Home Run Leaders from Japan:

1. Shohei Ohtani - 176
2. Hideki Matsui - 175
3. Ichiro Suzuki - 117
4. Kenji Johjima - 48
5. Tadahito Iguchi - 44

Ohtani tied Matsui's record just a week ago and quickly surpassed it amidst controversy surrounding his former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara. Mizuhara was arrested for bank fraud, allegedly stealing over $16 million from Ohtani.

This scandal overshadowed Ohtani's achievements on the field, especially since the start of his first season with the Dodgers after signing a groundbreaking $700 million contract. The Dodgers terminated Mizuhara's employment following accusations of stealing $4.5 million from Ohtani.

The situation further complicated when reports suggested that Mizuhara might have used Ohtani's money to pay off illegal gambling debts. However, Ohtani denied any knowledge of this, claiming that Mizuhara controlled all communication regarding his finances.

Mizuhara faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted. His attorney has shown a willingness to negotiate with prosecutors. Meanwhile, Ohtani and the Dodgers aim to focus on baseball and move past the off-field distractions.

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Source: Yahoo Sports 

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